United States Rep. Marion Berry (D-AR, 1st) recently announced he will go county to county throughout Arkansas' 1st Congressional District to speak directly with teachers, principals, superintendents and other education administrators about their concerns of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.
In November 2003, Berry's office sent surveys to every public school principal and superintendent in Arkansas' First Congressional District; administrators were asked to disseminate those surveys among their teachers.
More than 300 educators took the time to fill out the 20-question survey which focused on the effectiveness of "No Child Left Behind" and what aid educators felt Arkansas' schools need most.
The No Child Left Behind Act was signed into law on Jan. 8, 2002 with the promise that adequate funding would be devoted to public school children in order to ensure their continued success. In the two years since the enactment of the law, NCLB has met with criticism claiming funds were misallocated, programs were under-funded and mismanagement was actually hindering students' achievement.
"If you want to know how an education plan is working, don't ask other politicians, ask the teachers, counselors, principals and superintendents who are living with it every day," Berry said. "When asked about 'No Child Left Behind,' the word educators responded with more than any other was 'unreasonable.' I will be going county to county collecting information from teachers in the classroom -- not bureaucrats in Washington -- discussing what should be amended in the Act to help our children succeed.
"I find it very concerning that a vast majority of the surveys we received believed the goals of NCLB were unrealistic while a significant number of educators felt the current system was harming more students than it was helping. My goal for these meetings is to gather information to take back to Washington and share with my colleagues as we strive to improve this legislation."
Meetings are being set up now for late February and will continue until every county's educators have had an opportunity to voice their opinions.
The meetings will be publicized throughout each county and open to all educators and the press.