What’s Wrong with “No Child Left Behind” and…
How You Can Lobby Congress to Overhaul It Now

Session Presenters: Gary Ratner and Victoria Young
Session Type(s): Workshop
Date: Saturday, August 4, 2012
Time: 2:45 – 4:15 PM
Room: To Be Arranged

While the “No Child Left Behind Act” (NCLB) is widely disliked, many of us may not know specifically what’s wrong with it, how it needs to be changed and why it is important to overhaul it now, even though about half the states have gotten temporary waivers from some of its worst mandates.

This workshop begins by describing NCLB’s key policies, its false assumptions and harmful effects. Next, it describes how NCLB should be restructured: dramatically shift its emphasis from “tests and sanctions” to “helping schools improve,” especially by federal support for schools’ adoption of the common elements of successful school turnarounds.

Then, the bulk of the workshop focuses on actually preparing you to lobby your Congressman’s or Senator’s office (or that of other public officials) to change NCLB (or other education laws at the state or local level.) This includes a presentation of the nuts and bolts of how to lobby. The workshop culminates in attendees learning the ropes by participating in a role-playing exercise designed to simulate a real lobbying meeting. (This exercise has been found to be quite engaging and instructive.)

Session Speaker

Gary Ratner

Gary Ratner – Citizens For Effective SchoolsGary M. Ratner, is Citizens Fro Effective Schools CES’ founder and Executive Director. He has been a nationally recognized authority on school reform law and policy for over 20 years. Mr. Ratner is a principal drafter of the Joint Organizational Statement on No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, the policy statement now endorsed by more than 150 national organizations, including NAACP, National School Boards Association, National Council of Churches, NEA and National Parent Teacher Association. His article, Why The No Child Left Behind Act Needs To Be Restructured To Accomplish Its Goals and How To Do It was featured in the University of the District of Columbia Law Review in March 2007. Mr. Ratner’s calls to action have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Business Week, Education Week, The Boston Globe and the Huffington Post.

Victoria M. Young

Victoria M. Young – Doctor of Veterinary Medicine [DVM]Victoria M. Young is returning to the SOS conference this year, partnering once again with Gary Ratner, to convince you not only to lobby congress but also to lobby your neighbors, friends, and acquaintances. They all need help in seeing that inequality in educational opportunity is wrong and can be made right through the law we call No Child Left Behind. She feels the country must answer some questions before they can responsibly progress forward. What is the role of the federal government in education? How do we provide excellent education to all?Dr. Young is an Idaho veterinarian, parent, school volunteer, and has served on school district committees covering topics including safe schools, science education, strategic planning for school improvement, and policy writing. She has 20 years of experience pursuing better schools in her community and is now committed to using what she learned to improve America’s low-achieving public schools. Her extensive reading about the history and policy of American public education and her experiences in an impoverished school district led her to become an author. Education’s Missing Ingredient: What Parents Can Tell Educators was published in 2009 and its second edition, The Crucial Voice of the People, Past and Present will be released soon.

She began her volunteer service to the Save Our Schools effort as the Chair of the Information Coordinating Committee for the 2011 March and Rally and continues to honor July 30th as National Support Public Education Day. She hopes to see it become a national tradition.