With the impasse in Congress and the desire to change a law widely seen to be flawed and a failure, President Obama used his executive authority to enact reforms that allow states to apply for waivers (including the 2014 deadline for proficiency), if they carry out certain reforms (including more rigorous teacher evaluation systems).
What’s Next For NCLB?
Senator Lamar Alexander (R.-Tennessee) has said that NCLB “has been a noble experiment” but that control of education should reside in local governments. Despite President Obama’s waiver plan, test preparation will continue to be a focus. In other words, as Care2 blogger Judy Molland wrote, the basic provisions of NCLB will remain and schools with low-scoring students could still receive failing grades. Focusing on students taking standardized tests in math and reading has meant that “history, the arts, foreign languages, P.E and even recess” have all been shortchanged.
The one thing that we can (perhaps) all agree about is that no one has been entirely happy about NCLB, and many have been, and will continue to be, deeply frustrated with it. Were national, federally-mandated requirements for education a mistake from the start, or might they be effective if carried out differently — perhaps without such an emphasis on standardized test scores?
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