President Barack Obama is planning to scrap key elements of the No Child Left Behind law, a cornerstone of the Bush administration’s education policy, and substitute new rules reflecting his own vision on education, reports the Washington Post.
Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan will detail plans to waive some of No Child Left Behind’s requirements on Friday.
Obama intends to waive the standard that every student be proficient in math and reading by 2014 - failure of which could mean that their schools would face escalating penalties.
In return for scrapping those requirements, however, states must put in place changes that reflect Obama’s own goals on education policy. The states that will seek waivers - the Washington Post says up to 45 of them might - will be expected to expand charter schools, link teacher evaluation to student performance and upgrade academic standards.
Schools, which have been trying to reach No Child Left Behind’s standards for four years, are currently facing the threat of massive teacher layoffs, principal firings and school closures if students don’t achieve the required goals.
Duncan told the Washington Post that he has no other choice than to propose these waivers, given the pressures that schools face under No Child Left Behind, and no obvious Congressional efforts to address the issue.
“I feel compelled to do this,” said Duncan. “My absolute preference is for Congress to fix it for the entire country. But there’s a level of dysfunction in Congress that’s paralyzing. And we’re getting to the point that this law is holding back innovation, holding back progress. We need to unleash that. We need to get out of the way.”
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