Principles for Education Policy, Issued by the Broader, Bolder Approach Campaign

Two years ago, the Economic Policy Institute convened a diverse group of policymakers and scholars who developed and promoted statements calling for a “Broader, Bolder Approach (BBA)” to education policy. BBA is independent, but EPI continues to host its website and provide other logistical support.

Last week, BBA issued a set of 6 key principles that its leaders believe should guide federal policymakers in Congress and the Administration as they consider the re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (now called “No Child Left Behind”). BBA leaders include Co-Chairs Helen Ladd, Pedro Noguera, and Thomas Payzant, and Advisory Council Co-Chairs Susan B. Neuman and Richard Rothstein. Brief biographies of these and other BBA leaders are on the BBA website. 

In brief, BBA:

    * Warns against attempts to identify the lowest performing schools primarily by their students’ test scores on basic math and reading skills.

    * Cautions that even attempts to measure student “growth” on such tests, although an improvement over student performance data currently in use, will still misidentify low-performing schools and could spur new forms of gaming.

    * Urges identification of schools needing improvement by qualitative observation and evaluation, as well as by student scores on higher quality tests, and notes that such complex accountability systems can be developed successfully only if states have wide latitude to experiment.

    * Calls for school accountability that creates incentives to deliver a broad and well-rounded curriculum, including the arts, science, history, health and physical education, and character development.

    * Applauds Administration support for programs that address health, family and community impediments to learning, but observes that school accountability policy cannot ignore the absence (or presence) of such programs.

    * Proposes an increase in real federal compensatory education funding for all eligible schools during the current fiscal crisis, not a reduction of such funding in favor of competitive grants.

Click here for the full text of these principles is at the BBA website. 

For more information on the BBA campaign:

Click here for BBA’s initial statement.

Click here for BBA’s full statement on accountability policy.

The EPI Education Program has issued other publications recently, covering issues such as teacher compensation, the Administration’s proposals for ESEA re-authorization and its “Race to the Top” competitionClick here for all recent EPI publications on education.

Broader, Bolder Approach (BBA):

Full text of key principles:

BBA’s initial statement:

BBA’s full statement on accountability policy:

Teacher compensation:

Proposals for ESEA re-authorization:

“Race to the Top” competition:

All recent EPI publications on education:

See related work on Accountability | Education