The recommendations released today by the bipartisan Commission on No Child Left Behind affirmed that the core principals of NCLB are strong, and should be maintained as Congress moves to renew the landmark legislation.

I am very pleased by the Commission’s recommendations, which encourage states to strengthen their standards and tie them to the expectations and requirements of higher education and the workplace.  That approach is essential to ensure that we meet the challenge of global competition – both as a workforce and as a nation.

However, the US Department of Education must improve the way it disseminates positive results and best practices.  Schools need assistance and information in order to make improvements and close the student achievement gap. High school reform must address the issue of the wasted senior year.  It must help all students get through high school on time and without requiring remedial work to get those graduates up to speed to achieve as college freshman.  Students must be prepared with the skills and knowledge required for postsecondary education and the workplace.

The Commission’s recommendations also recognize that we must address the unique needs of rural schools under NCLB renewal.  Rural schools should not be penalized when they are working within the law to ensure that all students receive the education they need to be successful.  No rural school or student should be left behind.  We need to make sure that what we do does not have unintended negative consequences on schools where there may be only ten students and one teacher.