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Both Democrats and Republicans have submitted proposals to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the federal law governing K-12 education that has not been revamped since the much-maligned No Child Left Behind Act—the latest iteration of the ESEA—was signed into law in 2002. Among the few things both parties agree on is continuing to require grade-by-grade testing and a new requirement that would focus the draconian consequences that once threatened all schools on the lowest-achieving schools exclusively; in other words, those schools that primarily serve low-income and new immigrant students. This is a big mistake.
Taken together, along with our continued failure to address equity in school resources, these two provisions would virtually guarantee that the overall performance of our students will never equal that of our toughest international competitors and would further widen the gap between the top performers and our disadvantaged students.