Obama Admin. Excuses 10 States From Bush-Era School Reforms
1 year ago
Several ‘No Child Left Behind’ federal regulations are a thing of the past for nearly a dozen states
Classroom teachers in a handful of states may no longer have to “teach the test,” after the Obama administration announced state-driven education reform waivers Thursday.
Ten states -- Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Tennessee – have been granted a waiver from the burdensome mandates of President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind initiative.
The states can, under the auspices of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, “raise standards, improve accountability” and make reforms that get students ready for higher education and for competition in the global economy.
Duncan told reporters that the waivers amount to an “absolute game changer” for states struggling to close the education gap, particularly among African American students and learning-disabled students.
“Every year one million students drop out of our schools,” Duncan said. “This is all morally unacceptable. These states are at the front of the pack.”
The Bush-era education reforms, infamously known as No Child Left Behind, has been panned by critics as too restrictive and ineffective for some urban and special needs school children.
The waivers also come on the heels of Georgia’s standardized test cheating scandal in the Atlanta Public School system. Sec. Duncan said the scandal had “zero factor” in approval of the Peach State’s waiver.
“There is never an excuse for those who don’t play by the rules,” Duncan remarked. “There was a culture there that had lost its compass.”
New Jersey, a state that once failed to secure Obama administration “Race To the Top” grants, struggles with the closure of several schools failing by both state and federal standards. The schools are located in Newark, where the district services more African American and Latino students than any other in the state. The state’s popular Republican governor, Chris Christie, has worked with state lawmakers to pass reform bills that helped secure the waiver.
The only state that applied and did not receive a waiver was New Mexico, but Duncan indicated his agency was working with officials there to make approval possible.
According administration officials, at least two dozen more states will submit applications for waivers at the end of February.
View video of the Obama administration’s announcement below: