We’re refreshing our brand. More updates coming…
Home » NCLB waivers

Michigan applies for No Child Left Behind Waiver in 2nd Round

State educators say they’ve formally asked the U.S. Education Department to waive the rule that calls for having 100 percent of students deemed “proficient.”

Schools would have to accept new reforms in exchange for the waiver, and state Superintendent Mike Flanagan said that includes a new report card to hold schools accountable for student performance – including the achievement gaps between various student groups. Read More…

More States Ask For NCLB Waivers

“No-Child Law Faces Wave of Opt-Outs”
By Stephanie Banchero
Wall Street Journal
February 29, 2012

Twenty-six more states asked to be excused from key requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act, an exemption that would curb the education law’s impact considerably.

The states, from Washington to Mississippi to New York, were joined by the District of Columbia. Last month, the Obama administration granted waivers for all 11 states that applied in the first round. If it grants waivers to all the new applicants, three quarters of the states would be exempt.

Signed into law with bipartisan support in 2002, No Child Left Behind is now reviled by Republicans, who say it gets the federal government too involved in education, and by Democrats, who complain that its rigid definitions of performance have seen almost half the nation’s schools listed as failures. But Congress has been unable to agree on an overhaul. In response, the administration decided to let states get around central tenets of the law, such as ensuring that 100% of students pass reading and math exams by 2014.

Republicans have complained that the exemptions usurp congressional authority. On Tuesday, Republicans on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce approved two bills that Chairman John Kline (R., Minn.) said aim to “shrink federal intrusion in classrooms and return responsibility for student success to states and school districts.”

States seeking waivers have to adopt education policies favored by the administration, such as linking teacher evaluations to student test scores and adopting college- and career-ready standards. In exchange, they can create their own targets for annual student achievement and craft their own policies to help the lowest-performing schools.

“The best ideas to meet the needs of individual students are going to come from the local level,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement. These applications

Read More …

Waivers from NCLB Proficiency Requirement – What it Means and What People Are Saying

President Obama declared that states who were willing to set higher standards, revamp teacher evaluations, and overhaul their lowest performing schools can apply for waivers from certain parts of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), including the 2014 100% proficiency deadline. The waivers have been discussed for a few months, given that Congress has not come to an agreement on how to rewrite the NCLB law, which is past due for reauthorization. One of the big points of contention was that in the original law, children in every state had to be 100% proficient by 2014 under state-determined standards in reading and math, or states risked punishment and requirements to “fix” their schools by various means.

Since the law hasn’t been reauthorized and the prospects for that happening on a bipartisan basis grow increasingly dimmer as we enter an election year, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and President Obama felt waivers based on states committing to certain ideas of high standards were the only way to provide relief to the states. This isn’t the first time the President rewarded states that promised to change their standards, teacher evaluations, or reform policies. Race to the Top was a grant competition based on states willing to push for reform, although the best intentions did not bring about the best results.

The big question is whether or not granting these waivers, but only for states that pledge to pursue the President’s policy reform agenda by agreeing to various conditions not part of the statutory waiver process, is legal. It is legal for Secretary Duncan to issue waivers, but it is unclear if they can be tied to reforms not authorized by Congress.

Debate will continue on this issue, with some education reformers supporting the efforts, and some opposing them.

Chiefs for

Read More …

Less Freedom with Waivers

Gene Hickok, former Deputy Secretary of Education, weighs in on President Obama’s plan to grant waivers for NCLB requirements to states that agree to certain education reforms. Hickok cautions that these waivers are unconstitutional and illegal, and will not give states more freedom, but in fact, force them to comply with more mandates. Some waivers include eliminating some of the tutoring and parental choice policies instituted in NCLB, which is illegal to do. Hickok urges parents and choice advocates to study what these waivers will really do and let others know.

Subject: Eugene Hickok: When a “Wavier” is an Unconstitutional, Illegal, and Immoral Mandate

Dear Colleagues,

Two weeks ago, President Obama announced his plan to grant “waivers,” from No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The plan, however, is a misnomer. The “waivers” plan does not give states more freedom. Rather, the plan forces states to comply with nearly 40 new government mandates. This is the nationalization of education policy. It would deny parent-driven tutoring to hundreds of thousands of low-income students trapped in failing schools. And it would force school choice and parental empowerment from cornerstones of education reform to afterthoughts.

In short, waivers are Unconstitutional, Illegal, and Immoral.

In undermining Congress’ role in legislation, waivers are unconstitutional. See a letter from Senator Marco Rubio to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan making that case here.

In undermining parental participation and involvement, waivers are illegal. NCLB expressly denies the Secretary of Education the right to waive the parental participation and involvement it contains. In other words, the Secretary cannot waive school choice policies, and he cannot waive common sense tutoring provisions which encourage parental engagement. By explicitly waiving these policies, the Secretary is exceeding his authority under the law. The United Farmworkers of America made this compelling case directly to the

Read More …

The Blob Strikes Back

There’s an old saying in ed reform; when the National School Boards Association (NSBA) and American Association of School Administrators (AASA) want something, it must not be reform. That’s the case – again – with their call for blanket waivers from NCLB. Wow, it was just a matter of time till they could get away from the heat in the kitchen.

Chiefs for Change — a group of 8 current and 2 former school chiefs who share a zeal for reform — took umbrage with this. They “oppose suspending accountability provisions of the ESEA through blanket waivers or universal modifications, as the American Association of School Administrators and the National School Board Association recently petitioned.” Until a real reauthorization occurs, we cannot be lowering standards and weakening the quality of education.

Kudos to these new leaders, who dare to step out of the box. Let’s hope they stay there a good long time and that others follow suit.

Edspresso Lounge

Edspresso Archive

Education Blogs