- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 27, 2015

SEATTLE (AP) - A Seattle elementary school teacher and a University of Washington researcher testified Tuesday before Congress on the federal education law known as No Child Left Behind, as lawmakers consider how to revise the framework for public schools.

Rachelle Moore, a first grade teacher at Madrona K-8 School, and Dan Goldhaber, director of the Center for Education Data and Research at the University of Washington, were asked by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray to share their opinions with the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

Murray, the senior U.S. senator from Washington state, is the ranking Democrat on the Senate committee. She has made updating the federal education law, which is formally known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, a priority.

She wants to give states more flexibility in meeting education accountability goals, and focus on literacy for low-income kids, getting all students ready for careers and college and offering more support for tribal students, military kids and homeless children.

Moore, a national board certified teacher who has taught at Madrona for five years, spoke about mentoring teachers at the beginning of their careers to strengthen the nation’s public schools.

She spoke about her experience in Seattle with a teacher residency program and how every student and every teacher is an individual with their own needs.

“There is no ‘average’ student. Each student is shaped by individual experiences,” she said. “And those experiences must be taken into consideration when shaping policies geared toward improving student success.”

Goldhaber told the committee that not all parts of the federal education law need fixing. He says student testing has helped show not all students are getting equal access to the best teachers.

He expressed concerns that Congress would move away from annual tests as a part of the federal education law, because that would shrink understanding of educator effectiveness and how teachers are distributed among schools.

“In short, it would greatly limit the information we need to make schools better,” Goldhaber said.

He said other measures that do not track students from year to year are not credible.

In her comments at the committee meeting, Murray did not talk about eliminating testing. She did call for multiple ways to measure teacher effectiveness and more support and training for teachers.

She emphasized that fixing the No Child Left Behind law will require Democrats and Republicans to work together.

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