Sioux Falls, SD – U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) today met with educators in Sioux Falls as he continued discussing the strengths and weaknesses of the No Child Left Behind law. Johnson called for more flexibility and an end to the one-size-fits-all approach as the full Senate moves forward with comprehensive reform legislation.
“The educators I met with in Sioux Falls made clear that we need to give our schools more flexibility to help them achieve high standards and close achievement gaps. It’s past time that Congress reforms No Child Left Behind, and I want to make sure that the needs of South Dakota school districts, large and small, are represented as the reauthorization moves forward,” said Johnson.
At today’s event, Johnson was joined by Ann Smith, Coordinator of Federal Programs, Sioux Falls Public Schools; Kent Alberty, Chairman, Sioux Falls Public School Board; Bob Sittig, Superintendent, Baltic School District; Dr. Micy Highstreet, Special Services Director, Dakota Valley School, Nicole Gardner-Fink, 2nd grade teacher, Harvey Dunn Elementary and 2011 Teacher of the Year; Deb Merxbauer, President, Sioux Falls Education Association and John Pedersen, Executive Director, School Administrators of South Dakota.
Johnson has said that the waivers recently made available by the Department of Education to provide schools relief from the more unworkable aspects of this law should act as a bridge to more comprehensive reforms.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee took the first steps to comprehensively reform the No Child Left Behind law by passing bipartisan reforms earlier last week. The legislation now moves to the full Senate, and Johnson has called for consideration of this reform as soon as possible.
“I want the Senate to move forward with reforms to this law as quickly as possible. It’s more important than ever that federal laws are helping schools give our kids a quality education without unworkable, burdensome requirements. These changing times demand that we look seriously at changing what we know is not working with No Child Left Behind,” continued Johnson.
Johnson has been a longtime supporter of initiatives that reduce classroom size, fully fund the federal obligation to special education, repair crumbling schools, and give teachers the tools they need to help children succeed.
Johnson held a similar event in Aberdeen earlier this week to hear from additional educators As the district work period continues, he will hold additional events in Mitchell and Rapid City before traveling back to Washington.