Leaving Behind No Child Left Behind
In case you haven’t heard the monumental news, Obama made a major decision in education last week. Some see this ploy as merely a political move especially since he didn’t give Congress the time to edit the current No Child Left Behind law, but nonetheless it affects the national educational landscape. His decision is giving states the choice to opt out of the No Child Left Behind law in exchange for waivers from certain aspects of NCLB. If a state chooses to opt out of NCLB (at least 45 states are expected to opt out), then they will receive flexibility with federal spending and with school improvement accountability. In order to receive this flexibility, the state must have adopted the common core standards in math and literacy, develop a test to show accountability of common core standards, and measure the performance of teachers and principals factoring in student achievement.
Surprisingly 31,737 of the 98,916 schools were labeled failing in 2009. Because this is such a large number of schools, Obama’s decision is to help the bottom 5% of schools that are failing instead of all 31,737 schools, which is an insurmountable number of schools to help. Since the change to NCLB decision was not a bipartisan effort and the House and Senate did not contribute to this effort, critics are concerned that the Secretary of Education is taking too much national control.