It seems as though No Child Left Behind may be addressed when the new Republican-led Congress gavels in this January. The Associated Press reports that Republicans are focusing on the law that was up for renewal in 2007. Since Congress never acted President Obama’s administration went ahead and took action in the form of NCLB flexibility waivers that are unconstitutional. In order to receive a waiver states had to adopt teacher evaluation systems and “college-and-career ready standars” (Common Core). So states agreed to more strings in return for “flexibility.”
Kimberly Hefling, an education reporter with AP, writes:
The waivers left alone a federal requirement of annual standardized testing in grades three to eight and testing once in high school. The testing provisions are likely to be part of the debate.
Alexander, a pragmatic lawmaker, is no stranger to education policy. He served as education secretary under George H.W. Bush, as president of the University of Tennessee and as Tennessee governor.
He says that “excessive regulation of local schools by Washington is getting in the way of better schools.” He and House Education and Workforce Chairman John Kline, R-Minn., say the federal government needs to get out of the business of deciding what to do about low-performing schools, education standards and teacher evaluations.
But, Alexander has also acknowledged the political reality even if Congress passes a bill, Obama would need to sign it to become law.
“We’ll work with Secretary Duncan and the president in hopes we can persuade them that what we want to do is also what they want to do,” Alexander said, referring to Obama’s education secretary, Arne Duncan.
Congress could, at the very least, stop funding for Race to the Top. That’s just the tip of the iceberg however. I’m leery of what Senator Alexander will actually allow however since he was unwilling to discuss Common Core when he faced a stiff primary challenge. He has supported Common Core in the past.
Then again, Common Core advocates seem to think that ending Race to the Top and NCLB waivers will end conservative concerns. No, only for the uninformed. It just means those who oppose Common Core (not just conservatives) will focus solely on state-level battles where the fight has mainly been to begin with.