Observations about the No Child Left Behind law and its promises to parents:

Posted: Wednesday, March 03, 2004

''The information is out there, but it's difficult to find. Most parents do not have time to get on a computer and look for it, and some parents don't have access to a computer. That's what we have to do: Get to them and get the word out.''

Lisa Tait, parent in Lilburn, Ga., and leader

of a state parent education network.

''Many parents will tell you this information is desperately needed. Information is power. The data will help advance a national debate about the performance of our educational system. It can no longer be hidden in the shadows.''

Education Secretary Rod Paige, announcing a new Web site of report card data.

''Every time I think I know all of them, I find another one in another section of the law.''

Patty Sullivan, deputy executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, on the law's promises to parents.

''They were just bombarded with this whole concept of the No Child Left Behind Act, but there was nothing actually there to help them enforce it. ... Some were frustrated and said, 'There's nothing I can for you,' or, 'Ask Bush.' Well, that's not going to help me.''

Maria Fenton, Boston parent, on seeking advice from school system advisers.

''The more complex and specific they make it in Washington, the harder it is to do. This law sets the world's record for complexity and specificity.''

Bruce Hunter, director of legislative efforts at the American Association of School Administrators.

''The states are so overwhelmed trying to make adequate yearly progress (in their schools). ... That has become, unfortunately, more of the focus than the part of the law we like: keeping parents informed and involved.''

Melissa Ganley, program manager for the National PTA.

''It's going to take a real shift in the culture of how we think of public education. Do we think of parents as consumers, people who need to be brought along? Or do we think of the traditional model: Schools know best, parents should be kept at a distance, where they sign permission slips for field trips but otherwise generally play a passive role.''

Ross Wiener, policy director for The Education Trust, which advocates for poor and minority students.

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