good news about NCLB

Rep. George Miller, who leads the House Democrats on education policy and strongly backed No Child Left Behind, has issued draft language regarding reform of that Act. It says, in part:

Title I, Part I, includes a new program to provide funds to low-income districts to support high quality instruction in music and arts, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, history, geography and physical education and health. Funds would support expanding the amount of instructional time in such subjects, developing high quality curriculum, providing essential materials and textbooks and partnering with community- based organizations to increase student learning in these subjects.

This is a big deal in my little world of “civic ed.” But I’d suggest it matters to all Americans, and the full argument goes like this:

Children who have experiences to participate as citizens and learn about their communities and politics flourish better in adolescence and develop lasting habits of civic participation that benefit our democracy.

… but …

Current education policy revolves around the testing of reading and mathematics. As a result, schools, and especially those with low rates of academic success, are cutting civics, arts, and community partnerships.

… so …

We need incentives for schools–especially those with low academic performance, which usually enroll mostly poor kids–to provide civic opportunities. And this is what Mr. Miller appears to be trying to do.