Sunday, June 26, 2011

Authority questioned . . .

Things have not quieted down on the ESEA reauthorization front and the education department's throwing out the potential for waiving certain requirements.  Rep. John Kline (R-Minn) questioned the legal authority to grant waivers “in exchange for reforms not authorized by Congress” as Secretary Duncan has proposed to do.  You can read about it in this Class Struggle post. 

Besides questioning the secretary's authority he also says that the house is making progress on reauthorizing NCLB and should be finished sometime in the fall.  He shares that they have been working on it in pieces with two pieces completed; one eliminating some federal programs and another making it easier for states to start charter schools.  The third, creating more flexibility in expending federal funds should be out of committee by the end of summer.

The last two bills will address the evaluation systems for teachers and the accountability provisions of the law. In the article he says there was agreement that the law should not place such high stakes on the results of a single test. Though I don't know what the single test will be replaced with I welcome another accountability measure that hopefully will include some component of improvement over time.

In a related story in this guest blog at Flypaper by Christine Wolfe, former staffer in the education department for George W. Bush, she shares Kline's opinion that the secretary may not have the authority to do what he wants.  She also suggests that the department adopt a non-enforcement policy as apposed to granting waivers.  In this way states could freeze their AYP goals and not face the potential consequences associated with not making progress towards the 2014 100% requirement. 

I'll continue to monitor and periodically share progress on reauthorization as it will have a huge impact at the state and local level once the legislation is completed and implementation guidelines are developed.

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