Monday, August 29, 2011

State Challenges Seen as Whittling Away Federal Education Law

What Obama and Duncan are trying to do won't be easy, as states are resisting, though this article makes it seem like a bad thing that states are taking more initiative, whereas that's the whole point of what Obama and Duncan are doing!

With several other Western states also rebelling against the requirement that 100 percent of American students be proficient in English and math by 2014, some education officials and experts see signs that years of federal dominance of public school accountability may be drawing to a close.

"Pretty soon all the schools will be failing in America, and at that point the law becomes meaningless," said Larry K. Shumway, superintendent of public instruction in Utah. "States are going to sit and watch federal accountability implode. We're seeing the end of an era."

It is no secret that the Obama administration dislikes many provisions of the No Child law, which President George W. Bush signed in 2002 and vigorously enforced, in court and with fines against states — including Texas, his own.

Mr. Duncan has called the law a "slow-motion train wreck," tried unsuccessfully to get Congress to rewrite it, and last week promised to provide waivers this fall to states that sign on to the president's school improvement agenda, with criteria similar to those in his Race to the Top grant competition.

Mr. Duncan says he is still devising the new waiver policy, and his office denied waiver requests lodged by Arkansas and Kansas this spring.

But when officials in Montana and a handful of other states simply refused to follow the strictures of the No Child law in recent weeks, his aides quietly helped them find provisions in the law that avoided a public showdown, signaling a more profound shift.


State Challenges Seen as Whittling Away Federal Education Law

John D. Simmons/The Charlotte Observer, via Associated Press

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, here at a school in North Carolina last fall, has called the law a "slow-motion train wreck."

Published: August 14, 2011

 Subscribe in a reader