Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Derek noted earlier this month that the congressional impasse in reauthorizing No Child Left Behind (the Elementary and Secondary Education Act) is unlikely to be resolved by the end of President Obama's second term. That is largely been because the Obama administration has effectively reformed NCLB by granting states waivers from complying with the federal standards. Yesterday, Pennsylvania joined the 40 states that have received a partial waiver from the requirements of No Child Left Behind. Without that waiver, Pennsylvania would have had to show next year that its students’ standardized test scores were at grade level proficiency in reading and math. With the waiver, Pennsylvania will not have to meet that standard in 2014. Instead, the state can now substitute its own system to measure student performance and teacher effectiveness, subject to the approval of the Department of education. As the Department of Education continues its NCLB flexibility program, the Obama administration has seemed less concerned pushing Congress for a replacement, even though reauthorization was a priority at the start of President Obama's second term. While Congress continues to tangle over how best to reform NCLB, the administration has persuaded states to implement the accountability measures that it wanted. Forty-five states have signed on for standardized testing under the Common Core State Standards Initiative.