Education Secretary Arne Duncan to outline education priorities and defend testing

Lyndsey Layton:

As a new Congress gets to work to rewrite the 2002 federal education law known as No Child Left Behind, the Obama administration is drawing what Education Secretary Arne Duncan calls a “line in the sand”: The federal government must continue to require states to give annual, standardized tests in reading and math.

In a speech scheduled for Monday at an elementary school in the District, Duncan is expected to insist that any new law retain the trademark of No Child Left Behind, requiring that every public school student be tested annually in math and reading in grades 3-8 and once in high school, and also be tested in science at three points during those years.

“He will outline the need to widen and ensure opportunity for all students — the original purpose of this landmark law,” said Dorie Nolt, Duncan’s spokeswoman. “He will call for quality preschool for every child, improved resources for schools and teachers, and better support for teachers and principals. He will also call on states and districts to limit unnecessary testing so that teachers can focus needed time on classroom learning.”