Franklin (MA) School Committee Blog

The pieces below represent the views of the individual authors, not the committee as a whole.

Schools seek relief from NCLB requirements

Posted by Jeffrey Roy on June 12, 2011

Unless Congress acts by this fall to overhaul No Child Left Behind, the main federal law on public education, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan signaled that he would use his executive authority to free states from the law’s centerpiece requirement that all students be proficient in reading and math by 2014.

According to a report in the New York Times, the Obama administration has been facing a mounting clamor from state school officials to waive substantial parts of the law, which President Bush signed in 2002, especially its requirement that states bring 100 percent of students to proficiency in reading and math by 2014 or else face sanctions. In March, Mr. Duncan predicted that the law would classify 80,000 of the nation’s 100,000 public schools as failing this fall unless it was amended.

The National School Boards Association has expressed support for regulatory relief for over a year in view of delays in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), and in recognition that many of the mandated sanctions have had little impact on improving student achievement. Additionally, NSBA voiced strong objections to requiring local school districts to implement ineffective and costly sanctions when state and local revenue streams have been significantly reduced.

The NSBA is pushing a resolution calling for ESEA regulatory relief (the proposed resolution can be viewed by clicking here). The petition encourages members of Congress to act on the behalf of local school districts to support the urgent need of allowing flexibility for school districts to use more financial resources in the classroom to advance student achievement, instead of on administrative tasks. Specifically, the petition requests suspension of additional sanctions under the current Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) requirements effective this coming school year.

“It’s time for Congress to support their local schools districts. Duncan should exercise the U.S. Department of Education’s regulatory authority and relieve school districts from the constraints of federal statutes that hold schools hostage as Congress moves forward with the ESEA reauthorization,” said Mary Broderick, President of NSBA. “In these tough economic times, schools should not have to spend scarce dollars and staff time to adhere to a flawed accountability system. The U.S. Department of Education must provide clear policy decisions, not case-by-case waivers. While we believe in assessment and holding all schools accountable, we must give our schools the flexibility and necessary resources to teach our children and advance student learning.”

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