For immediate release
contact Christine Miles, 503-689-6794
September 23, 2011
State Superintendent Castillo Joins President Obama for Education Announcement
Castillo expresses support for proposed changes to NCLB
(SALEM, Ore.) – State Superintendent Susan Castillo accepted an invitation from President Obama to meet with him and other education leaders at the White House this morning for a national education announcement. In his address, the President announced that states will now have increased flexibility and opportunities for innovation under the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, formerly known as No Child Left Behind. Under this new plan, states may request flexibility from specific mandates but will be expected to maintain a strong commitment to accountability and high standards for all students.
“I was very honored to join President Obama for this important announcement,” said Superintendent Susan Castillo. “While I agree with the President that No Child Left Behind had the right goals—accountability, high standards for all kids, and a focus on closing the achievement gap—I also agree that there are real challenges with this decade-old law. The President understands that as we look at improving educational outcomes in our nation, we need a system that supports and encourages innovation, that rewards rather than penalizes increasing our standards, and that puts the focus back on learning and individual student growth. Our state has made a firm commitment to college- and career-ready standards for all kids with the implementation of the Essential Skills and the adoption of the Common Core State Standards. Governor Kitzhaber and I are already working on a federal waiver proposal to provide Oregon schools with the flexibility they deserve as they work to reach these critical goals.”
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is the major federal funding mandate for public schools. This law was reauthorized in 2001 by the US Congress as the No Child Left Behind Act and was due for Congressional reauthorization and reform four years ago. In recent months, states around the country, including Oregon, have taken the lead in calling for reform of this law, leading what the White House referred to as a “quiet revolution” to move beyond NCLB’s vision. Given the failure of Congress to act, the President has provided states with this opportunity for flexibility.
“As the President said in his address today, our kids only get one shot at an education and we cannot afford to wait any longer to reform this law,” Castillo said. “I commend the President’s courage in recognizing what isn’t working and providing states the opportunity to innovate and improve our education system to better meet the needs of our students and our schools.”
Click here for the White House Press Release.
Click here for a White House fact sheet with details on the flexibility announcement.
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