Lawmakers at odds over NCLB’s successor

Harkin’s proposal also includes protections from bullying for gay students.

The one-size-fits-all national requirements of No Child Left Behind would give way to standards that states write for themselves under legislation introduced by senators of both parties last week, with one key difference: The Republican version of the bill would eliminate the Education Department’s role in overseeing the standards and give governors the final say.

In stark contrast, the Democrats’ version would mirror the NCLB waiver process already in place. As of press time, 37 states have received waivers to NCLB’s requirements in exchange for customized school improvement plans.

Introduced June 4, a 1,150-page proposal from Senate education committee chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, would require some of those states to tinker with their improvement plans and force the other remaining states to develop their own reform efforts. Education Secretary Arne Duncan still would have final say over those improvement plans, and schools still would have to measure students’ achievements.…Read More

Report: ESEA reauthorization could be trouble for waiver states

A reauthorized ESEA should consider that federal waivers created a wide range of accountability systems.

A new report surveying states that have applied for and received No Child Left Behind waivers finds they are worried that reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) could hinder progress painstakingly made in school reform over the past year.

The report, released by the Center on Education Policy (CEP), notes that last year Education Secretary Arne Duncan began to grant states waivers on key NCLB accountability requirements. The waiver guidelines let states depart from some of NCLB’s more strict requirements, such as judging school performance against a goal of 100 percent of students reaching reading and math “proficiency” by 2014, and implementing specific interventions in schools that fall short of performance targets.

However, states with approved waiver applications must meet several new requirements that relate to standards and assessments, accountability systems, teacher and principal evaluation, and reductions in administrative burden.…Read More

GOP Senator: ‘No Child Left Behind’ waivers are illegal

Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio wrote to Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Tuesday, criticizing an Obama administration plan to grant No Child Left Behind waivers to states that adopt national standards backed by the administration, the Daily Caller reports. “I am concerned,” Rubio’s letter says, “that the administration’s requirements for granting a waiver from NCLB would entail states having to adopt a federally-approved ‘college and career ready’ curriculum: either the national Common Core standards, or another federally-approved equivalent.”

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States apply for waivers to skirt rules as reform stalls

Despite a rise in test scores, 84 percent of Missouri’s schools failed to make “adequate yearly progress,” according to a report released by the state Thursday, the Huffington Post reports. Margie Vandeven, assistant commissioner with the Office of Quality Schools at Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, says she’s frustrated with No Child Left Behind, a law that uses an “all or nothing” measure to rate her state’s schools…

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