Obama Gives Waivers To Ten States For No Child Left Behind
President Obama announced waivers for the unpopular No Child Left Behind education law for ten states yesterday: Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Tennessee.
New Mexico also applied for a waiver, but did not receive one under its current application.
The president’s decision will mean the states are not responsible for many of the requirements mandated by the law, including strict reading and math standards to be met by 2014.
The law was passed in 2001 by President George W. Bush; its signature features are the strict standards and regular standardized testing to track student progress. Supporters say it has increased accountability and worked to close achievement gaps; but opponents from across the political spectrum criticized the law, saying it piled these standardized exams onto already overworked teachers, forcing them to teach only to the narrow testing. Furthermore, many said the law provided no resources to meet the increased standards. Calls for reform have come from both sides of the aisle.
Obama offered the waivers in exchange for other educational reforms. Critics say that he is circumventing congressional authority; Fox News even ran an opinion piece titled, “No Child Left Behind waivers let Team Obama seize control of your child’s education”. But many of the waivers were sought by Republican-led states,with many Republicans praising increased state and local control over education.
In an event on Thursday with educators, the president applauded the increased “flexibility” offered by the waivers.
“We’ve offered every state the same deal: We’ve said, if you’re willing to set higher, more honest standards then we’re going to give you the flexibility to meet those standards,” Obama said.
What do you think? Is this a step in the right direction?