Dear Commons Community,
The U.S. Department of Education freed eight states from core provisions of the No Child Left Behind education law earlier this week, bringing to 19 the number of states granted waivers this year, and officials said that even more states would soon qualify for them. The New York Times reported:
“State officials have clamored in particular for relief from the federal law’s requirement that every student be proficient in math and English by 2014. The Department of Education waived that condition in exchange for an agreement by states to meet new standards — in a longer time frame — that Arne Duncan, the education secretary, says are tougher.
Critics of the 2001 law have long said that the universal proficiency requirement was both too vague — states set their own definitions for proficiency, and some set them quite low — and unattainable. In 2010, 38 percent of the nation’s schools failed to meet their benchmarks for annual progress toward the 2014 goal, and Mr. Duncan has warned that the figure could soar to 80 percent.
The law has been up for renewal since 2007, but Congress has been unable to agree on a new version.
So far, the department has not turned down any state’s request for a waiver, though it has negotiated the terms with states before granting them. Eighteen additional requests are pending.”
We congratulate the U.S. DOE for these actions but it needs to do more to eliminate the controls the federal government has been imposing on states and school districts.