By announcing that he would send his education blueprint to Congress on Monday, President Obama returned to a campaign promise to repair the sprawling federal law
, which affects each of the nation’s nearly 100,000 public schools. His plan strikes a careful balance, retaining some key features of the Bush-era law, including its requirement for annual reading and math tests, while proposing far-reaching changes
The administration would replace the law’s pass-fail school grading system with one that would measure individual students’ academic growth and judge schools based not on test scores alone but also on indicators like pupil attendance, graduation rates and learning climate
. And while the proposal calls for more vigorous interventions in failing schools, it would also reward top performers and lessen federal interference in tens of thousands of reasonably well-run schools in the middle.
In addition, President Obama would replace the law’s requirement that every American child reach proficiency in reading and math, which administration officials have called utopian, with a new national target that could prove equally elusive: that all students should graduate from high school prepared for college and a career.
“Under these guidelines, schools that achieve excellence or show real progress will be rewarded,” the president said in his weekly radio address, “and local districts will be encouraged to commit to change in schools that are clearly letting their students down.”
Administration officials said their plan would urge the states to achieve the college-ready goal by 2020.