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Orange County, CA November 2, 2004 Election
Smart Voter

No Child Left Behind

By Susan Henry

Candidate for Board Member; Huntington Beach Union High School District

This information is provided by the candidate
Addressing the needs of ALL children is fundamental to any public educational program.
As the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act enters its third year of implementation, HBUHSD has achieved some significant benchmarks. One of the most significant being the qualifications of our classified employees. Under the NCLB Act, districts are required to hire paraprofessionals who have a high school diploma and meet at least one of the following qualifications: 1.)at least 2 years of study at an institute of higher learning; 2.)an associate's degree or higher; 3.)met a rigorous standard of quality as demonstrated through a formal state or local academic assessment. The district's paraprofessionals are 100% compliant and deemed to have met the "rigorous standard of quality" required by the Act. Under NCLB the district's certificated teaching staff must be determined to be "highly qualified" and teaching in their correct area of expertise. At this time the district is within a handful of teachers left to meet this criteria. Of the 40 requirements the law demands, the district is well on its way to making the deadline. In regard to API (Academic Performance Index) scores - all six comprehensive high schools met and exceeded their target goals this past year. The challenge will be to continue to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in a less than cooperative economy and a nation split on the whole idea of NCLB. In a survey released in late June conducted by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), 39% of respondants gave NCLB a thumbs up, 38% said thumbs down. The promise of the NCLB Act is admirable and we owe nothing less to all of our children. I support and endorse its goals and expectations. The difficulty is in getting there. At a time when education has slipped to fourth in national interest (behind the war in Iraq, the economy at home, and spiraling health care costs) there will need to be a concerted effort on both sides of the issue to bring NCLB back to the forefront and address the concerns: funding, special education, and language acquisition.

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