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00000176-e6f7-dce8-adff-f6f7707e000090.5 WESA's Life of Learning series focuses on learning and education activities, opportunities and challenges in the Greater Pittsburgh area.This multi-year commitment to providing learning-focused news coverage in southwestern Pennsylvania is made possible by a generous grant from the Grable Foundation.

Essential Pittsburgh: Editing 50 Years of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act

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No Child Left Behind is set to receive a revamping of its key policies and focus points.

This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of the Elementary and Secondary Education Acts. Reauthored in 2001 and now more widely known as No Child Left Behind, the law will be getting a major rewrite in 2015. NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia covers the changes coming to the most enduring education legislation that Congress has ever passed. 

Eskelsen Garcia says the complaints of parents and teachers have provided a chance to make major changes to the acts.

"We have an opportunity because more and more members of Congress might have an open mind about ending this test-and-punish routine and replacing it with better information."-Lily Eskelsen Garcia

Also today, we explore the idea of technological fluency, and civil rights activist and UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski works to institute minorities in STEM-related careers. 

No Child Left Behind Rewrite (starts at 0:00)

Lily Eskelsen Garcia says that tests are important and necessary for tracking progress, but the single standardized test her students took was the last important of the bunch.

"It was able to give a very general overview of how the school was doing. You certainly wouldn't tell a 3rd grader they can't go to the 4th grade based on one standardized test they took in the spring, but that's actually happening in places like Oklahoma now."

Technological Fluency (starts at 11:20)

How can you prevent a robot from taking your child’s future? According to our guest, Carnegie Mellon robotics professor Illah Nourbaksh, raising a child who is technologically fluent will better prepare them for the working world of the future.

Diversifying the STEM Workforce (starts at 34:50)

Acknowledged by Time magazine as one the nation’s 10 best college presidents, Freeman Hrabowski of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) has quite an impressive resume. He’s a mathematician, civil rights activist and researcher passionate about getting more minorities into the STEM fields. A topic he’ll address as keynote speaker at an upcoming conference at Robert Morris University.

More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be found here