NASET News Alert

House Panel Begins Series of Hearings on No Child Left Behind Act

May 26, 2006

House Panel Begins Series of Hearings on No Child Left Behind Act

First Hearing Focuses on Incorporating Math, Reading into Innovative Classroom Instruction

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Testifying before the U.S. House Education & the Workforce Committee, educators shared with members of the panel their unique approaches to classroom instruction, while underscoring the fact that the No Child Left Behind Act’s focus on math and reading achievement does not narrow school curriculum.  The hearing marked the first in a series announced last week by Committee Chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-CA), the Committee’s Senior Democrat George Miller (D-CA), and Education Reform Subcommittee Chairman Mike Castle (R-DE).  The series is expected to continue over the next several months. 

“Because next year’s reauthorization of No Child Left Behind may be the most important the law will ever see, it is important that we begin to lay the foundation early on,” said McKeon.  “This Committee has actively followed the implementation and impact of No Child Left Behind for the past several years, and this new series of hearings is the latest example of our commitment to this law and its ambitious goals.”

The hearings began on May 18, 2006, examining the impact of No Child Left Behind’s focus on reading and math instruction, as well as what creative educators are doing to incorporate a wide variety of subjects into their classroom instruction.

“So many creative teachers across the country – like Garrett Lydic of Laurel, Delaware – have integrated traditional subject matter and innovative classroom instruction, and I am pleased we were able to highlight their efforts today,” noted Castle.  “This type of ‘outside-the-box’ thinking is key to the success of No Child Left Behind.  If we want every child to achieve in math and reading, we can’t rely on the same methods of instruction we’ve been using for decades.”

Lydic, a physical education teacher at North Laurel Elementary and the 2006 Delaware Teacher of the Year, told Committee Members how he has successfully incorporated traditional academic subject matter into physical activities.

“We have discovered through our experience over the last 10 years that physical education is an ideal vehicle for reinforcing the academic standards that students are learning within their classrooms,” sad Lydic.  “During many of our physical activities, students apply the concepts they are learning in areas such as math, science, writing, reading, and social studies to achieve a goal.  We have observed that our students get excited about learning math, spelling, and other academic content standards in this manner because they are performing physical activities rather than the typical classroom activities where students are seated at their desks.  This also enables children to see how concepts learned in one venue are transferred to other venues and to life’s challenges.”

Mickey Garrison, principal of Fullerton IV Elementary in Roseburg, Oregon, discussed with the Committee the importance family participation plays in a successful curriculum.

“We believe that involving parents is the key to our students’ success,” said Garrison.  “To that end, we have increased the opportunities parents have to become involved in their child’s math education.  At this year’s Back-to-School Night, for example, we offered 15-minute mini-sessions that introduced parents to our integrated curriculum.  The response was so enthusiastic – we had a 98% participation rate – that we are planning a series of ‘Tech Nights’ to begin in early 2005 and 2006, where families can explore the computer-based programs used in our efforts.”


 
McKeon noted that some have claimed No Child Left Behind’s initial success in improving achievement in math and reading has narrowed the curriculum in many U.S. schools. 


 
“I disagree with those claims,” McKeon said.  “Math and reading comprise the foundation for any sort of academic success, regardless of subject matter.  But more importantly, there are scores of men and women across the country using innovative methods to teach reading and math while also maintaining a rich curriculum in other areas.  The impressive efforts of those men and women were showcased today.”

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