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September 22, 2003, Extra Credit
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September 22, 2003
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 September 17
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Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist Takes On Critics Of No Child Left Behind

On Friday, Sen. Bill Frist of Tennessee, the Majority Leader in the United States Senate, penned an op-ed on No Child Left Behind in The Tennessean. Debunking many of the myths critics have used to attack the law, Sen. Frist concludes, "If we can motivate parents and community leaders, teachers and students to meet high expectations, we can achieve academic excellence. And that's not unrealistic."

Following is an excerpt from Sen. Frist's column:

"Another frequent criticism is that No Child Left Behind unfairly tests special education students on the same material as students in regular classes. It seems like a reasonable argument on its face. After all, special education is for students who have unique educational difficulties. The problem is when you look more closely at the faces who are assigned to these classes.

"Black students account for roughly 24% of the Tennessee student population but make up nearly 50% of the children designated as mentally retarded. Young African-American boys, especially, are being put on the special education track. This gaping disparity suggests that for a significant group of students, special education is serving more as remedial class without proper remedial education.

"Vanderbilt education and psychology professor Dan Reschly explains, 'Most students with disabilities can take and pass challenging achievement tests, and it is in their and society's best interests that they do so. For students with genuine disabilities, holding schools accountable is crucial to their educational opportunities and career preparation.'"

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About Extra Credit
NCLB Extra Credit is a regular look at the No Child Left Behind Act, President Bush's landmark education reform initiative passed with bipartisan support in Congress.

If you would like the NCLB Extra Credit emailed to you, please send a request to Geoff Goodman at NoChildLeftBehindUpdate@ed.gov or call (202) 205-9191.

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Last Modified: 01/29/2008