Franken staffers in St. Cloud Wednesday to discuss No Child Left Behind changes

Franken staffers in St. Cloud Wednesday to discuss No Child Left Behind changes Click to Enlarge Photo:

Dec 7, 2011 at 11:00 am

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (KNSI) - Members of U.S. Sen. Al Franken's staff will hold a listening session in St. Cloud Wednesday night to discuss possible proposals and solicit new ideas for change as the full Senate prepares to tackle the controversial "No Child Left Behind" law early next year.

"We're going to be talking about that today and getting feedback," Franken told KNSI Wednesday.

Franken, a member of the Senate Education Committee, has been a key player in reform plans attempting to overhaul the decade-old education act aimed at boosting education standards as well as results nationwide.

"We've done some really, really good things in reforming No Child Left Behind, which everyone agrees has been a failure in many, many ways," Franken said.

Among the Education Committee changes expected to go before the full Senate: dumping Adequate Yearly Progress standards, which currently have report half of Minnesota's elementary and secondary schools failing under NCLB levels.

"They haven't been measuring the right things," Franken said.

Franken endorses new computer-adapted testing, which not only returns faster results to instructions, but can also assess student answers and automatically tailor future questions to better understand a child's true education level.

"It's going to enable schools to measure each kid's growth," Franken said. Currently, results for standard April testing doesn't get graded and returned to teachers until June -- after the end of the school year.

"It doesn't help the teachers inform the instruction of their kids," Franken said of the format many school administrators refer to as an autopsy. But under the new system, "you get results right away," Franken said. "You can really get a fine-tune of where the child is."

Wednesday's meeting will also allow school officials, teachers, parents and students to offer their thoughts on the proposed changes as well as contribute their own ideas to the process.

"I want to hear from Minnesota teachers and school officials about what that reform should look like," Franken said.

The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday on the campus of Apollo High School, 4th Ave., Room 614 in St. Cloud.

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