Monday, April 28, 2008

Secretary Announces New NCLB Regulations

On Tuesday, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announced a package of proposed new regulations to address the high school dropout crisis, strengthen accountability, ensure increased access to "high-quality tutoring" and to clarify certain provisions related to the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). While the secretary made the announcement in Detroit, Mich., three of her top aides remained in Washington, D.C., and shared the same information with the education community at an event held at the Department of Education.

In Washington, D.C., Deputy Secretary Ray Simon stressed that the Spellings and her staff remain committed to working with Congress in its efforts to reauthorize NCLB. However, in the absence of congressional action, the administration wants to make the law work better now for students and their families, as well as school districts and states, while remaining true to the law's core principles of accountability and transparency.

The proposed regulations and new pilot programs affect Title I of NCLB with the "intent of building on the advancements of state assessment and accountability systems, as well as strengthening the public school choice and supplemental educational services provisions" of NCLB. In addition, some proposed changes included in the department's proposal for reauthorization, such as making science part of AYP, do not appear in these proposed regulations because it was determined that the department did not have the authority to make certain changes through regulation. The proposed regulations clarify and, in some instances, codify current department policy and propose new actions.

The regulations proposed by Spellings are published in the Federal Register, and public comments will be due on or before Monday, June 23, 2008. Final regulations are expected in mid-to-late fall. In addition, the Department of Education is planning four regional hearings in May to solicit comments. Dates and locations of these regional hearings will be posted in the Federal Register in the near future.

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