Obama’s NCLB Waivers: Are they necessary or illegal?

Obama’s NCLB Waivers: Are they necessary or illegal?
Education Next talks with Martha Derthick and Andy Rotherham
By Martha Derthick and Andy Rotherham  WINTER 2012 / VOL. 12, NO. 2  Educationnext

President Obama sparked much debate in Washington with his plan to grant states waivers from provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), conditional on their willingness to embrace certain reform proposals sketched out in the administration’s March 2010 proposal, “A Blueprint for Reform: The Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.” State leaders have cheered the president’s decision to offer them much-needed relief from onerous requirements. Key Republican leaders, including Senators Lamar Alexander (TN) and Marco Rubio (FL), and Texas governor Rick Perry, have blasted the move as overstepping executive authority. Is the president right to issue conditional waivers? Are the conditions themselves a good idea? In this forum, Martha Derthick and Andy Rotherham weigh in. Derthick is professor emerita of government at the University of Virginia and coauthor of the legal beat column for Education Next. Rotherham is a former White House aide to President Clinton, former member of the Virginia state board of education, cofounder of Bellwether Education, and columnist for Time magazine.

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