Click below to hear the full conference call with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and White House Director of the Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz:


 

10278-Round-NCLB-LogoWASHINGTON — Senior Administration Officials with the White House held an “on-the-record” conference call with reporters Monday afternoon.

The U.S. Secretary of Education and White House Director of the Domestic Policy Council discussed the flaws of No Child Left Behind, a highly controversial act.

White House Director of the Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz, explained even with significant flaws, No Child Left Behind still provided essential data.

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Cecilia Munoz

“One of the things No Child Left Behind Act did, which was important, was to require data on sub-groups,” Muñoz said. “It required school districts to care about how those students were doing.”

White House officials are seeking to reform the No Child Left Behind Act, or replace it with a stronger law that keeps what is working.

“I think there’s very widespread agreement that No Child Left Behind law provided instruments that were very, very blunt,” Muñoz said. “Blunt instruments are really the wrong approach for dealing with these challenged. I think there is widespread agreement that this law needs reform, which is why congress is taking up reform of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act this week.”

Both Muñoz and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan agree, significant progress has been made in the nation’s education. High school graduation rates are the highest in history, especially among minorities. While Secretary Duncan said the progress is promising, it is no where near good enough.

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U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

“As a nation, we’re asking ourselves some hard questions now about race, equity and opportunity these days,” Secretary Duncan said. “The question we need to be answering is, ‘are children receiving the education they need and deserve. Are all children receiving the education they need and deserve, and the honest answer is, not even close.”

Secretary Duncan explained the most efficient way to improve equality in education, is to start with the nation’s lowest performing schools.

“We have long supported states … taking a smarter approach to ESEA,” Secretary Duncan said. “Four years ago we began offering flexibility to states … since then, 42 states, Puerto Rico and Washington D.C., have committed to hold students to high standards, narrowing achievement gaps, placing an effective teacher in every classroom and focusing attention and resources on their lowest performing schools.”

Congress will be looking into the reform or abolition of the No Child Left Behind Act in coming weeks.