DFL Senate candidate Al Franken says 'No Child Left Behind' needs to change

Al Franken speaking about NLCB
DFL U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken spoke about the federal No Child Left Behind law and what he feels are its limitations.
MPR photo/Mark Zdechlik

DFL U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken says portions of the federal No Child Left Behind law need to change to accommodate broader approaches to learning.

Franken said he likes the accountability requirements of No Child Left Behind, but also said that under the law kids are too often being taught how to pass tests at the expense of important general learning.

Franken said tests should measure critical thinking skills and lesson plans should prepare students to pass tests without teaching to those tests. Franken said entire schools should not be penalized because one group of students tests poorly.

Farmfest Senate debate
DFLer Al Franken, left, and IP candidate Dean Barkley participated in a U.S. Senate candidate forum Tuesday at Farmfest. Incumbent Republican Norm Coleman also took part.
MPR Photo/Mark Zdechlik

"Accountability is the right way to go but we're going about it the wrong way and here's what I propose," Franken said. "First, stop using No Child Left Behind as a blunt instrument to punish schools."

Republican Senator Norm Coleman's campaign says Coleman has been working on major No Child Left Behind reforms, including differentiating between schools that are close to passing the mark and those that are having significant problems.