James H. Wendorf

NCLD Executive Director Emeritus, James Wendorf, attends major policy announcement by Secretary Arne Duncan, responds

Statement of James H. Wendorf, Executive Director Emeritus
On U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s vision for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)

As we mark the 50th anniversary of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) applauds U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan for his insistence on closing “unacceptable achievement gaps” that exist for students at-risk, including the 1 in 5 with learning and attention issues.

As Secretary Duncan said in his speech today, tackling persistent achievement gaps requires deep understanding of student performance. Annual assessments are an important indicator that empowers families to make informed decisions on behalf of their child. At the same time, our educational system must prioritize quality assessments over quantity while still providing parents with a yearly update on their child’s academic performance.

We believe that fixing ESEA requires allocating resources in smarter ways to unlock every student’s potential. A greater emphasis is needed in the following areas for students with learning and attention issues:

  • Meaningful access to the general education curriculum and assessment
  • Early screening and identification of learning issues
  • Professional development to ensure educators understand and can address students’ strengths and challenges
  • Graduation from high school with a regular diploma
  • Opportunities for personalized learning
  • Safe, positive learning environments.

NCLD stands ready to work with the new Congress and the Administration to rewrite ESEA to reflect these priorities. We must take this opportunity to improve outcomes for all students.