U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen joined Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) students, parents, staff and administrators at John F. Kennedy High School today for a community conversation about the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the federal law currently known as No Child Left Behind.
Montgomery County Board of Education President Christopher S. Barclay, Superintendent of Schools Jerry D. Weast, and Kennedy Principal Eric Minus discussed ESEA with the secretary and congressman, before opening the forum to questions and comments from audience members.
“The reauthorization of ESEA is vitally important to our community and to our nation,” said Mr. Barclay. “We are pleased that Secretary Duncan and Congressman Van Hollen chose MCPS and Kennedy as a place to have this conversation and to hear directly from students, parents and educators.”
During their visit to Kennedy, Secretary Duncan and Congressman Van Hollen heard thoughts and ideas from a diverse cross-section of the MCPS community on what the policy priorities should be when Congress enacts an update of ESEA. President Barack Obama has challenged Congress to act on reauthorization this year.
“Reauthorizing ESEA is crucial, especially to address the inconsistent ways in which states have been able to measure student achievement under the current version of the law,” said Dr. Weast. “It’s important that Secretary Duncan and members of Congress like Congressman Van Hollen are listening to what students, parents and educators have to say about how to improve the federal law.”
While at Kennedy, Mr. Duncan and Mr. Van Hollen visited teacher Barbara Marchwicki's medical careers classroom. Earlier this year, students in the medical careers program won second place in the Patriots Bio-Medical Competition at the National Institutes of Health.