Obama: Reform No Child Left Behind Act This Year

Posted March 14, 2011 at 5:00am

President Barack Obama will call on Congress on Monday morning to revamp the No Child Left Behind Act, the nation’s beleaguered education law, by the end of the summer, when the next school year kicks off.

In a speech at Kenmore Middle School in Arlington, Va., Obama will lay out his top three priorities for reforming President George W. Bush’s signature education initiative, which many have tagged as unworkable. Obama will call for creating a “fair” accountability system based on better testing, empowering teachers and innovating at state and local levels, and focusing on the schools and students most at risk.

“We need to make sure we’re graduating students who are ready for college and a career,” Obama plans to say, according to prepared remarks. “In the 21st century, it’s not enough to leave no child behind. We need to help every child get ahead. We need to get every child on a path to academic excellence.”

The administration has increasingly signaled an interest in revamping the law, which hasn’t been reauthorized since 2002, and lawmakers in both parties have expressed an interest in moving on the issue. The sense of urgency was underscored this month when the Education Department projected that more than three-quarters of public schools could soon be labeled as “failing” under the current system.