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CA Education Leader Hopes Obama Revamps NCLB


California School Superintendent Jack O'Connell has high hopes the federal No Child Left Behind Act will get an overhaul if Barrack Obama is elected to the White House. O'Connell was in Denver last night for Obama's acceptance speech. KPBS Reporter Ana Tintocalis has more.

O'Connell met with Obama personally in Denver to talk about the under the No Child Left Behind Act.

The Bush administration introduced the legislation roughly eight years ago. It requires schools to pinpoint how all groups of students are performing and holds schools accountable if they're not making progress.

But many educators feel the law is too rigid and punishes schools unfairly.

O'Connell, who was on KPBS Radio's These Days program, says Obama feels the same way.

O'Connell: He understands No Child Left Behind very, very well. He understands its underfunded, its overly perscriptive, its one size-fits-all. We all support the goals of No Child Left Behind. But its the implementation. And when Senator Obama is elected for president, that's going to change.

O'Connell would like to see the federal accountability system mirror California's system.

Turning to state news, O'Connell says the state budget deadlock is hurting more than 800 preschool programs across California.

O'Connell says the programs are in jeopardy because they have different funding rules compared to public schools. He says that makes them extremely vulnerable.

O'Connell: They don't receive funding. The money is there. And the money comes through the Department of Education. But I don't have the legal authority to release those funds. I, early in the year, communicated with our state run programs, and said, please try to save money.

But O'Connell says those that didn't save money are now taking out bridge loans to make ends meet.

He worries some programs will have to shut down of there's no budget agreement soon.

Ana Tintocalis, KPBS News.


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