Rubin calls for full funding of Bush proposal


Cindy Rickeman, University Relations

BROOKINGS – A resolution made by a South Dakotan and adopted by a national association may help our nation’s schools carry out the most sweeping education reform the country has known in more than three decades.

Dr. Hank Rubin, joint dean of Education for South Dakota State University and The University of South Dakota, made a proposal from the floor during the business meeting of the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE) Jan. 26 in New Orleans.

He proposed that the AACTE call on the President, Congress and the American people to fully fund the No Child Left Behind legislation.

On Jan. 8, 2002, President Bush signed into law the No Child Left Behind Act, which redefines the federal role in K-12 education and calls for measurable improvements in teaching and student performance.

“No Child Left Behind is the most significant change in federal legislation affecting public schools that we’ve seen in over 30 years,” Rubin said.

“It tells us how we test and what we test, how we fund and what we fund, who teaches and what they teach and what our job is in teacher education. It is a profound change in federal law.”

The problem, Rubin said, is that no new funds were appropriated to carry out the mandated changes.

“Here’s the concern,” Rubin said.”This establishes two overarching elements: It creates shifts and increases in the expectations of what students need to know and be able to do. This involves program changes and teacher training. It raises the bar of what’s expected. It also puts in place a very rigorous assessment of how well students are doing.”

“These changes have to be done,” Rubin added, “but there are no new resources to make those changes.”

Furthermore, he said, if the federal government doesn’t fund the mandated changes and improvements, then the assessment requirements of the legislation will lead to a “train wreck”, because schools will fail to meet expectations without funds to institute the changes.

“If pre-K-12 fails, we all fail,” Rubin said.

Rubin’s resolution asks that funding the No Child Left Behind legislation be made a national priority.

“Several of us thought it was important at this time — when billions of taxpayer dollars are being spent on a prospective war, a war that has the potential of leaving American girls and boys dead on some battlefield — that the President and the America people recognize our first obligation to leave no child behind in terms of public education.”

AACTE membership is comprised of administrative leaders of all schools and colleges of teacher education across the country. Now that the Association has officially adopted the resolution, it will lobby for the needed funding.

“This is the first time in many years that the national association’s had a resolution brought from the floor,” Rubin said. “That should make South Dakotans proud, that we’re prepared to take the lead on this.”