NCLB Waiver Wouldn't Help

So the Obama folks are pushing the idea of giving states a conditional waiver from NCLB's most onerous provisions -- such as the annual AYP reporting requirements that ramp expectations up to 100 percent by 2014. And there are lots of folks -- Duncan, state school officers and governors -- who are arguing in favor of going that route since Congress can't seem to get its act together to rewrite the 10 year-old law.  But there are others -- civil rights groups, district superintendents and boards, and a strange amalgam of conservative and liberal pundits -- arguing that conditional waivers are a very bad idea.  The opponents in this case a right.  Bypassing Congress sets a poor precedent.  The annual ratings are uncomfortable and inaccurate (a school making progress in all but one subgroup shouldn't be called "failing") but carry with them no real or immediate consequences.  The conditions Team Obama will set will likely cost states and districts additional funding.  The ideas the conditions will be based on will be from Race To The Top, whose impacts are still unknown.  Most state standards are still too low, and letting them create their own definitions of progress is an approach that hasn't worked in the past (when many states set 50 percent proficiency as the goal).


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  • I appreciate the consideration of the damage that the precedent would bring. If the fed sets a high standard and then backs away from it when people start to fall short then what good is the fed involvement in education anyway? I do worry about the glut of private companies that will/are sweeping in to take control of the public schools...this is definitely a negative consequence of the fed's leadership here. We put our faith in the fed to lead us when they have made it clear they have no faith in localities to solve their own evidenced by the turnaround options and the pressure to choose the most privatized options on the board.

  • Obama, the weak, had an opportunity to do something in education when he came into office and hired a bunch of deformer corporate bums to run the Department of Education. F for lack of smarts and cajones!

  • the tribune editorial page seems to say that the main reason to support the duncan waivers would be not to lower accountability pressures but to avoid labeling schools that miss meeting AYP on just one or two subgroups --,0,300200.story

    is that really such an awful problem, and what would happen if schools that "just missed" AYP were let off the hook?

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