The first post this evening in my RSS feed just happens to be from This Week In Education where I found this Wall Street Journal article about Secretary Duncan saying that he might use his executive powers to waive key elements of No Child Left Behind. Specifically, this would include the requirement for all students to be at standard in reading and math by 2014.
The law as it stands gives the education secretary broad authority to waive certain provisions. Mr. Duncan wouldn't offer specifics on which provisions are under consideration, but said he's opposed to one that currently punishes schools for not reaching high, specified goals, even as they make dramatic improvement. He also said he might offer states flexibility on how they can spend federal education money.
I applaud him for considering this step, but question granting waivers only in return for state's adopting other programs that he supports such as charter schools and tying teacher evaluation to student achievement. He should simply do it because it is a bad law. We need to move forward and prepare young people for future success and this law will not get us there. Keep accountability as a center piece of the reauthorization while providing the high support necessary to achieve this necessary goal.