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Education Official visits Springfield

Continuing an effort to create discussion between the Federal Government and local School Districts, on Wednesday May 26th, Southwest Missouri Congressman Roy Blunt brought the top administrator of the Federal "No Child Left Behind" Act to Springfield and Joplin. Mike Smith talked with Assistant Secretary of Education Ray Simon when he met in with area School Superintendents at the Springfield session.

Ray Simon is the Assistant Secretary in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. He and 7th District Congressman Roy Blunt, the House Majority whip, Wednesday May 25th met with school Superintendents from all across Southwest Missouri. The meetings in Springfield and Joplin were following up on sessions Roy Blunt had with Superintendents in February. At that meeting, concerns were raised about how the Federal Government was implementing the "No Child Left Behind" Act. The Superintendents said it was unfair to penalize school districts when special needs students failed to progress at the same achievement level as their peers in regular classrooms.

Following the meeting at Springfield's Westport Elementary School, Secretary Ray Simon told KSMU News that the "No Child Left Behind" Act is a complicated work in progress. He said there was "still a lot of tweaking to do" using information gathered across the country at sessions like the ones in Southwest Missouri. Simon said the Government has in a variety of ways, based on reports from the field, responded to concerns quickly.

Wayne Wheeler is the Assistant Superintendent with the Reeds spring School District. Speaking to Congressman Blunt, he voiced concerns about the law while suggesting that a child's education neither begins nor ends in the classroom alone. He said the school can teach all students to read, but parents must bear some responsibility in helping their children comprehend what it is they are reading.

Meanwhile, Assistant Secretary of Education Ray Simon welcomes input from the Superintendents, and says he looks forward to working with local school administrators in providing educational opportunity for all of America's kids.