We brought news of the Administrations proposals to waive NCLB requirements in the face of a broken congresses inability to rauthorize it. Here's the official response from NEA
Van Roekel: Flexibility from rigid rules welcomed by educators
WASHINGTON - September 22, 2011 - President Obama announced a plan today to provide relief to states from many of NCLB’s more onerous provisions, such as meeting Adequate Yearly Progress requirements and other deadlines. “President Obama has taken a welcome step forward with this plan. It sets much more realistic goals for schools, while maintaining ESEA’s original commitment to civil rights, high academic standards and success for every student,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel.
“Teachers have been sounding the alarm on NCLB’s test-label-punish approach for more than 10 years. Now, there is an opportunity to move forward with real reform, especially for the most disadvantaged students,” said Van Roekel.
“Educators want commonsense measures of student progress, freedom to implement local ideas, respect for their judgment and the right to be a part of critical decisions,” said Van Roekel. “This plan delivers.”
Van Roekel notes that the waiver plan provisions get away from labeling schools as failures. “Instead, the Department of Education has adopted a term NEA also uses for low performing schools: Priority Schools. The waivers recognize the Title I schools that need the most help—and the students they serve—as a federal priority.”
Last week, Van Roekel completed a back-to-school tour for a first-hand view of how teachers are collaborating with key education stakeholders to significantly improvement student learning and success. “I’ve been visiting schools across the country and I know that teachers and education support professionals care deeply about their students and they want policies that work to benefit students,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “President Obama and Secretary Duncan have crafted a path that breaks through the logjam of bad NCLB policy and opened the way to better ideas that will work for students and schools.”
“NEA will continue to work with Congress and push for comprehensive NCLB reauthorization,” said Van Roekel.
See NEA’s letter to Sec. Duncan requesting regulatory relief for K-12 schools here.
President, American Federation of Teachers,
On Waivers for NCLB Requirements
WASHINGTON—No Child Left Behind needs to be fixed. Reauthorization, which is Congress' responsibility, is the appropriate avenue to do so. We applaud Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) for their efforts to move that process forward, and we share their frustration that reauthorization is long overdue. In the absence of congressional reauthorization, we understand why the Obama administration is taking this action; we are keenly aware of the calls from parents, teachers and administrators for change—sooner rather than later. Waivers are an imperfect answer to the stalemate in Congress and, at best, can provide only a temporary salve.
Some of what the administration proposes is promising, some is cause for concern, and there are missed opportunities that could have enhanced both teaching and learning.
We are pleased that the administration's proposal includes more options prospectively for improving low-performing schools, recognizing that many of the remedies prescribed in NCLB were not flexible enough. The proposal also acknowledges the importance of adopting higher college- and career-ready standards, which could include the Common Core State Standards, to prepare kids for a 21st-century knowledge economy.
However, after all we've learned about how to construct and implement meaningful teacher evaluation and development systems since Race to the Top was announced two years ago, we're disappointed that the lessons learned are not evident in this package. Evaluation needs to be more teaching-focused, not more testing-focused. Successful school districts in the United States and in the top-performing nations understand that teacher evaluation systems should be based on continuous improvement and support, not on simply sorting, and it's a missed opportunity not to follow their lead.