Sunday, February 12, 2012

10 States Are Given Waivers From Education Law

 The Obama administration last week gave 10 states waivers from some provisions of NCLB.  Here's an excerpt from the NYT article:

A decade after the No Child Left Behind law rewrote the nation's education policies, President Obama freed 10 states from some of its crucial provisions on Thursday, including a deadline for bringing all students to proficiency in reading and math by 2014.

President Obama said Wednesday that the states would be given "flexibility" in finding ways to improve their schools.

The states — New Jersey, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Indiana, Colorado, Minnesota and Oklahoma — are the first group to receive waivers from the Bush-era law, in exchange for embracing the Obama administration's educational agenda and its focus on accountability and teacher effectiveness.

Federal officials said they would continue to work with New Mexico, whose application was not approved because it was incomplete. They also said the waivers granted to Florida, Georgia and Oklahoma were contingent on those states adopting policies or legislation enabling them to make changes.

These officials said that 28 other states as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have signaled that they plan to seek waivers. The next round of applications is due at the end of February.

This decision has generated a lot of criticism (see Jeanne Allen, RiShawn Biddle, and Rick Hess's scathing critiques, below), but I think DFER has it right: Obama and Duncan did the best they could, given the lousy politics.  Here's DFER's statement:


Given the politics, President Obama and Secretary Duncan pushed the reform envelope as far as they could be expected with these waivers. In doing so, they have reached a consensus with a critical mass of states that there is, and should be, a role for the federal government to play in ensuring an equitable and high-quality education for every child. We remain skeptical, however, of the storyline that says we are a nation filled with states chomping at the bit to do the right thing for children but which are hamstrung from doing so by federal bureaucrats and paperwork. History simply proves otherwise. It still falls upon Congress to establish the right balance of carrots and sticks to make the aspirational rhetoric a reality nationwide.


Here are Obama's remarks: 


10 States Are Given Waivers From Education Law

Published: February 9, 2012 


NCLB Waivers Putting A Nation at Risk, Again

Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it

By Jeanne Allen, The Center for Education Reform



Obama and Duncan Waive Goodbye to Systemic Reform

February 9, 2012 No Comments by RiShawn Biddle


A Shameless Display on Waivers

By Rick Hess on February 10, 2012 9:00 AM

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