No Child Left Behind, But Some Not Left Behind More than Others
Obama's education policy, at least early on, excited some conservatives who felt that the Democratic party was finally stepping away from the official policy of kneejerk opposition to any change. Now, however, it seems that state-by-state waivers are being issued for some of the 2014-deadline standards and other impossible provisions of NCLB. (Waivers for ObamaCare, waivers to fast-track "green energy" firms, what's it with Obama and waivers?) Everyone knows that most of the states who will receive waivers will not be able to meet all of NCLB's deadlines anyway. And waivers are only granted to states who will create their own new standards, devise methods of testing teachers and principals for performance, and provide blueprints to turn around the lowest-performing schools. Rep. John Kline(R-MN) said he "appreciated many of the policies outlined in the (Education) Secretary's plans."
But as usual, this is not really a matter of returning education reform to the states. It's essentially a unilateral reauthorization of the law under the Democratic blueprint for a new version of NCLB, since the only states that get the goodies are the ones who toe the Arne Duncan line. The NEA is delighted with the waivers idea and eager for Congress to "rewrite the law," which means that what replaces NCLB will just perpetuate the status quo.
On balance, will this really return control of education to the states? What does it mean for U.S. education?