Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

Education Reforms Begin to Take Shape: The U.S. Department of Education's Blueprint for the Reform of NCLB/ESEA

Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

Education Reforms Begin to Take Shape: The U.S. Department of Education's Blueprint for the Reform of NCLB/ESEA

Article excerpt

On March 13th, the U.S. Department of Education released A Blueprint for Reform: The Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (http://www2.ed.gov/p0licy/elsec/leg/blueprint/blueprint.pdf) . The Blueprint advances the Obama Administration's priorities for reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as the No Child Left Behind Act.

The Blueprint is arranged around six core areas of reform: College- and CareerReady Students; Great Teachers and Great Leaders; Meeting the Needs of English Learners and Other Diverse Learners; A Complete Education; Successful, Safe, and Healthy Students; and Fostering Innovation and Excellence. The goal of Collegeand Career- Ready Students is to improve standards to ensure that all high school graduates are preparedto enroll in credit-bearing courses at an institution of higher learning, to turn around the lowest-performing schools, and to reward top performing schools. Great Teachers and Great Leaders seeks to recruit, prepare, develop, retain, and reward great teachers and leaders, improve student outcomes, and strengthen different pathways to teaching. Meeting the Needs of Diverse Learners focuses on students who are English language learners, Native American, homeless, migrant, neglected, delinquent, disabled, or living in rural communities, through formula grants and innovative programs. A Complete Education hopes to provide incentives for high-need schools to provide access to a breadth of curriculum beyond reading and math by going deeper into areas of literacy, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Safe, Successful, and Healthy Students expands the focus of the safe and drug free schools to also address "whole child" issues including the connection between school climate and student success. Fostering Innovation and Excellence proposes to provide students with more public school choices and provide incentives for continued reforms at the state and local level.

This framework includes a number of initiatives NASP considers positive. For example, the Blueprint focuses reforms on the administration's overarching goal of supporting success for all children from the "cradle to career." There is also continued attention to closing the achievement gap by conducting disaggregated data analysis for minority students, students with disabilities, those who are disadvantaged, and English language learners.

There are two areas where school psychologists are natural partners. Given the ongoing shortage of school psychologists and our evolving role, the issues addressed in the core area of Great Teachers and Great Leaders are critical to our discipline. Another area which is of great interest to school psychologists is Successful, Safe, and Healthy Students. There are three priorities for this area: (a) providing comprehensive services and family supports in high-poverty schools; (b) supporting schools that expand the traditional school schedule; and (c) using data to improve students' safety, health, and well-being. School psychologists fit well with this area because they provide mental health services to students, collaborate with community providers to ensure students receive the servicesneededforlearning, implement and evaluate academic and behavioral interventions, collaborate to help support teachers' efforts to effectively reach a diverse student body, promote positive school climates, advance school-wide positive behavior supports, teach social-emotional skills, and reduce bullying and harassment. …

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