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Hickenlooper Lends Voice to No Child Left Behind Overhaul

Kirk Siegler

Governor John Hickenlooper is supporting a growing effort to reform the Bush-Era No Child Left Behind policy amid tough budget choices for education in Colorado.

President Obama said this week that he wants No Child Left Behind fixed before the start of the next school year. Education Secretary Arne Duncan summed up the nearly ten year old policy this way.

“It’s been very lose on goals but very tight, very prescriptive on how you get there,” Duncan said during a press call with reporters on Tuesday.

He says a new law with greater flexibility at the local level is important to innovating education. Governor Hickenlooper, who ran his gubernatorial campaign on the pledge of cutting red tape, says getting rid of the bureaucracy associated with No Child Left Behind will be critical as schools brace for a proposed $332 million cut in next year’s K-12 budget.

“I think you are going to see a number of school districts around the state that are going to come together and if not fully merge together, but certainly share administration functions and in many case the physical infrastructure of the school districts will get shared,” says Hickenlooper.

Individual states like Colorado may lead the way in changing No Child Left Behind. Last year state lawmakers revamped content standards for the first time in 15 years and passed a teacher effectiveness bill tying tenure to student achievement.

President Obama says part of his ultimate goal is finding ways to recruit and retain effective teachers to boost student success.