President Barack Obama’s administration has unveiled the rules for how states can receive waivers for the No Child Left Behind Act.
The law, which was created by the Bush administration, requires states to have all students proficient in reading and math by 2014. If schools and districts are too far behind, they can receive sanctions, including busing students to other schools and restructuring.
While progress has been made to reaching that goal, states are far from having all students proficient and the deadline is looming.
Under Obama’s plan, states can apply for waivers to be exempted from parts of the law if they meet certain education reform conditions, including adopting “college and career ready standards,” creating teacher evaluations that are at least partially based on student performance, and focusing on the most troubled schools.
State Superintendent Randy Dorn has already said he’s not a fan of the waivers, instead wanting Congress to change the law. Dorn has stated Washington likely won’t apply for a waiver, but that was before the rules were released. OSPI is reviewing the new rules.
To read an in-depth story about the waivers, check out the Education Week story here.
For a more cursory overview, The Associated Press story is below.
WASHINGTON – Decrying the state of American education, President Barack Obama on Friday said states will get unprecedented freedom to waive basic elements of the sweeping Bush-era No Child Left Behind law, calling it an admirable but flawed effort that has hurt students instead of helping them.
Obama’s announcement could fundamentally affect the education of tens of millions of children. It will allow states to scrap the requirement that all children must show they are proficient in reading and math by 2014 – a cornerstone of the law – if states meet conditions designed to better prepare and test students.
And the president took a shot at Congress, saying his executive action was needed only because lawmakers have not stepped in to improve the law for years.
“Congress hasn’t been able to do it. So I will,” Obama said. “Our kids only get one shot at a decent education.”
Under the plan Obama outlined, states can ask the Education Department to be exempted from some of the law’s requirements if they meet certain conditions, such as imposing standards to prepare students for college and careers and setting evaluation standards for teachers and principals.
Despite allowing states to do away with the approaching 2014 deadline, Obama insisted he was not weakening the law, but rather helping states set higher standards. He said that the current law was forcing educators to teach to the test, to give short shrift to subjects such as history and science, and to even lower standards as a way of avoiding penalties and stigmas.