Finally, a fix for No Child Left Behind


It’s probably a safe bet that at one time or another, all of us have been on the receiving end of well-intentioned but misguided policies coming out of Washington. Unfortunately, our public education system is no different. Whether you’re a parent, student, teacher, school administrator or none of the above, you have likely heard of the problems with No Child Left Behind.

This law was a 2002 update of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which is the chief federal law addressing K-12 education. There were some good and important changes in No Child Left Behind, but it was riddled with serious issues that we saw firsthand as parents and that I experienced in my role as superintendent of Denver Public Schools.

Fortunately, last month 81 senators came together to pass a long overdue fix to the law. The Every Child Achieves Act reforms many of the failed policies from No Child Left Behind, while still maintaining several of the measures that have proven successful.

On the Senate HELP Committee, our office had the opportunity to help write the bill and secure several amendments. We took the lessons we learned from Denver Public Schools and the countless stories we heard from families, principals, teachers and kids across Colorado and incorporated them into the new bill. We fought to include measures to better recruit, train and retain teachers and principals, reduce federal overreach, encourage innovation and ensure we are supporting our rural schools.

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