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Obama Says No Child Left Behind Puts Schools At Disadvantage; BCPS An Example

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Pat Warren joined the Eyewitness News team in 1992. Pat came to WJZ...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—President Barack Obama uses Baltimore as an example of why the federal government should reform No Child Left Behind.

Political reporter Pat Warren has more on the president’s proposed changes.

President Obama believes No Child Left Behind puts too many schools at a disadvantage.

The president lands a kick in the No Child Left Behind Act by waiving some of the requirements that tie student achievement to federal funding.

“We can’t let another generation of young people fall behind because we didn’t have the courage to recognize what doesn’t work, admit it, and replace it with something that does. We’ve got to act now,” Obama said.

Baltimore school superintendent Andres Alonso supports the change that’s coming.

“I would think I was personally there because we are seen as a district that is making a lot of progress and that’s facing the kind of challenges that the waivers are supposed to get rid of,” Alonso said.

Baltimore schools did not fare well last school year. More than 80 percent failed to meet target proficiencies in reading and math, despite improvements.

“You have schools that are making huge progress, yet they are being labeled as underperforming because they’re not at 100 percent proficiency, even though they’re dealing with huge challenges and making progress,” Alonso said.

“Our kids get only one shot at a decent education,” Obama said. “They cannot afford to wait any longer. So given that Congress cannot act, I’m acting.”

The waivers come with conditions Alonso believes the city, and the state, can meet. About one-third of the schools in the state have reportedly been labeled as failing.

“The state of Maryland is uniquely positioned to get a waiver because its Race to the Top application moved it a long way toward what the president is asking for now,” Alonso said.

“The economic challenges we face now are economic challenges that have been building for decades now, and the most important thing we can do is to make sure that our kids are prepared for this new economy,” said the president. “That’s the single most important thing we can do.”

The Obama administration is certain it has the authority to make the changes without congressional approval.

No Child Left Behind was enacted during the Bush administration, requiring all students to be on their grade level in reading and math by 2014.

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