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                                                                                                                                                                                                                               NEWS SERVICES
210 Pittsboro Street, Campus Box 6210
Chapel Hill, NC  27599-6210
(919) 962-2091   FAX: (919) 962-2279


Not for publication

Jan. 23, 2004 -- No. 33

Friends, foes of No Child Left Behind, and 400 educators, to discuss its effects

Saturday (Jan. 24), 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Carroll Hall Auditorium
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

One passionate advocate and one passionate foe of President Bush’s controversial No Child Left Behind Act will speak to more than 400 North Carolina educators Saturday (Jan. 24) at a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill conference. A third expert will discuss how to make the best of the initiative; audience members will debate the initiative’s pros and cons in small groups.

"NCLB, as a federal mandate, will exert a powerful effect on our schools, teachers and students," said Howard Machtinger, director of the Teaching Fellows program at UNC and conference chair. "It is crucial that we begin to systematically address its implications."

Media representatives are welcome to cover the conference, titled "The Challenge of No Child Left Behind." Conference registration is full; some additional seats may be available in an overflow room. The program will be the fifth annual conference on race and education, "Let’s Talk R.A.C.E.: Racial Attitudes and Conversations in Education," presented by Teaching Fellows in the UNC School of Education. About half the audience will be fellows and other UNC students, and the other half current school teachers and administrators. The speakers and schedule will be:

Summary of NCLB and arguments for and against, 9:45-9:50 a.m.

Dianne M. Piché (pronounced "pee-SHAY"), 9:50 a.m., executive director of the Citizens’ Commission on Civil Rights, a bipartisan organization in Washington, D.C., that monitors civil rights policies and practices of the federal government. She will speak in favor of No Child Left Behind. Piché, a civil rights lawyer, writer and advocate, has been involved with legislation and litigation to promote equity in education. She has been an adviser to two Congressional committees and previously directed the commission’s Title I monitoring project, which examined the impact of education reforms on disadvantaged children and documented widespread violations of federal requirements to protect poor and minority students.

Sheria Reid, 11 a.m., managing attorney and project director for the North Carolina Education and Law Project, which focuses on issues confronting low-wealth individuals. A graduate of the UNC schools of education and law, Reid previously taught English literature and composition at Chapel Hill High School. She will take the middle ground, speaking on "Making Lemonade Out of NCLB."

Group discussions by educators in the audience, 1-2 p.m.

Angela Valenzuela, 2-3 p.m., associate professor in the curriculum and instruction department and the Center for Mexican American Studies at the University of Texas in Austin, an outspoken foe of No Child Left Behind. A close observer of a similar program in Texas, initiated when Bush was governor, Valenzuela studied achievement by immigrant Mexican and U.S.-born Mexican-American youth in an urban Houston high school for three years. She described her findings in "Subtractive Schooling: U.S. Mexican Youth and the Politics of Caring," (State University of New York, 1999), which won the American Educational Research Association’s Outstanding Book Award. Valenzuela also won the 2000 Distinguished Faculty Award from the Texas Association for Chicanos in Higher Education, which honored her research and teaching. Her articles on accountability testing in Texas have appeared in the Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy and been published by the Harvard University Civil Rights Project.

Piché, Reid and Valenzuela will take questions from the audience, 3-4 p.m.

Driving directions: From Raleigh, exit I-40 at N.C. 54 and turn right toward Chapel Hill. Continue under the U.S. 15-501/Fordham Boulevard overpass and uphill to campus. At the next light, turn right onto Country Club Road. Continue straight at the next light, at Raleigh Street, where the road turns into Cameron Avenue. Continue to the Old Well on the right, where broadcasters with heavy equipment should unload.

Carroll Hall: Cross Cameron from the Old Well and continue past South Building to Polk Place, a large grassy quadrangle. Bear right to a side quadrangle off Polk Place, bordered by Hanes and Gardner Halls. Carroll is in the middle facing Polk Place.

Parking: Pass the Old Well and take the next right into the Swain visitors lot. Parking will be free until 3 p.m. in that lot and the Morehead Building lot on East Franklin Street. Both are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Free parking also will be available in the Nash lot off Pittsboro Street between Cameron and McCauley Street, on the right behind Nash Hall.

Note: Heavy traffic and demand on parking is expected on campus Saturday for the Carolina-Virginia men’s basketball game at noon.

Campus maps are available at; for more on the conference, visit

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School of Education contacts: Melinda Harder; 962-0743 today (Jan. 23), or cell 225-0823 Saturday (Jan. 24) and Howard Machtinger; Linda Baucom, 962-8687 today; cell 260-0277 Saturday (Jan. 24).

News Services contact: L.J. Toler, 919-962-8589 today (Jan. 23)