The head of the Keokuk Community School District will be in Washington Wednesday to talk to Congress about the "No Child Left Behind" Act. The measure aimed at improving the quality of education is due for renewal, and Superintendent Jane Babcock says she’ll tell them it could use some improvement.
"The accountability pieces of the No Child Left Behind is a very positive thing," she says, but they could use more resources to help those kids reach their full potential. While she doesn’t argue with the goals of the law, she says if the lawmakers would also send along some more money, the teachers could really do a lot. She lists smaller classroom sizes at the high school and middle school, and being able to continue their before- and after-school programs started up with a federal "Twenty-First Century" grant.
"All of those thing that make a difference for kids, especially in a diverse community such as mine where we have a fairly high poverty rate." The superintendent says one of the most important needs in a district like hers is funding to hire enough counselors, who can help develop a "culture of trust." She says many of the kids come with baggage, from troubled backgrounds, and the school must help them deal with their problems so they can then "open up their minds to the learning that they need."
Tomorrow’s hearing will be the third on no Child Left Behind by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. Federal Education Secretary Margaret Spellings will also be attending the hearing.