“New standards help shore up education deficiencies” (Our Views, May 3) rightly linked state policy decisions and educational progress. But federal policy decisions matter, too. A U.S. House of Representatives committee recently passed legislation to reauthorize the controversial No Child Left Behind Act. But the committee's proposal doesn't deliver what state and local leaders need to succeed. It shortchanges early education. It undermines commitments to close the funding gap between rich and poor school districts, and the performance gap between students in those schools. It eliminates existing teacher qualification standards and restricts class size reduction efforts. And it weakens school accountability.
If Oklahoma's leaders in Congress don't insist on improvements during this year's House floor debate, the new NCLB law will impede, not accelerate, state leaders' best efforts to promote educational excellence.
Bruce Lesley, Washington, D.C.
Lesley is president of First Focus Campaign for Children.