After learning the Obama administration would grant No Child Left Behind waivers, several states have announced that they intend to apply. States who are eager to apply or have already applied include Minnesota, South Carolina, Nevada, Tennessee, Kentucky and Michigan. School chiefs in Wisconsin and Virginia are supportive.
Now here is the catch.
Few details have have been released about the conditions under which the waivers will be awarded. This lack of information is troubling. The Department of Education press release explains, “The administration’s proposal for fixing NCLB calls for college and career-ready standards, more great teachers and principals, robust use of data and a more flexible and targeted accountability system based on measuring annual student growth.”
With no details to evaluate conditions for receiving waivers, this statement may reflect a policy direction where education reform is driven by more government overreach into our nation’s classrooms. One major consequence of this manacle-like overreach of government will be no peace of mind for educators to do their job well. Will there be less peace of mind than NCLB? Only time will tell.
What do educators have to say about this new policy?
The nation’s largest teachers’ union, the National Education Association, thinks conditional waivers are the wrong way to go. “What we need now is teacher-led and student-focused comprehensive reform instead of making states jump through more hoops,” said Dennis Van Roekel, NEA’s president, in a statement today. “It’s time to turn the page from the one-size-fits-all standardized testing regime and unleash the power of real teaching.”
Warnings from other groups and individuals are emerging. Let’s hope that current and future administrations heed the National Education Association’s warning.
Related Press Articles about the NCLB Backdoor Strategy:
- Obama Administration Proceeds with Reform of No Child Left Behind Following Congressional Inaction White House (8/8)
- Reaction Pours in on NCLB Waiver Announcement Education Week/Politics K-12 Blog (8/8)
- Kentucky to seek relief from the NCLB testing mandates. The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Ky.)/The Associated Press (8/8)
- Waivers on No Child Left Behind announced; Nevada to apply Las Vegas Sun (8/9)
- State education secretary says federal rules unfair Anderson (S.C.) Independent-Mail (8/8)