Educators talk with congressman about No Child Left Behind

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Congressman Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, met with a group of superintendents Wednesday to discuss issues they have with an important piece of legislation affecting students.

Johnson sat down at South Range High School with leaders from eight area school districts to discuss their concerns with the No Child Left Behind Act.

The main focus of the federal legislation is to make sure all students receive the same quality of education. School districts receive federal dollars and must follow strict mandates such as testing students to make sure they’re meeting and or exceeding state standards.

“No Child Left Behind has really forced school districts to focus primarily on testing,” said Mahoning County Educational Service Center Superintendent Ron Iarussi. “So therefore, we’ve gotten away from teaching some of the skills that really educate the whole child.”

The legislation is currently up for re-authorization. Iarussi said it’s just been passed by the House of Representatives and is on its way to the Senate.

“We know there will be some more changes that will be made, so we wanted to make sure that those legislators that are responsible for that legislation heard from the stakeholders,” said Iarussi.

The superintendents believe Johnson can take the knowledge he gained from the meeting back to Washington and hopefully help to make the changes they want in the legislation.

“They believe and I believe also that parents and teachers and local school boards and state authorities have a much better idea and are much better prepared to determine the standards which our young people should be educated,” said Johnson.

Johnson plans to meet with school leaders again in the near future to discuss improving federal mandates to better educate students.

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