NCLB Abolished at States’ Discretion

In September, President Obama announced that since Congress wouldn’t change the despised No Child Left Behind law, he would. He offered states the option of getting a waiver from high-stakes testing and other aspects of NCLB.

Hopes were high….“This is the beginning of the end of the No Child era,” said Jack Jennings, president of the Center on Education Policy, not a political group but education advocates.

We cheered and waved metaphoric flags at our house! Surely all the states would jump at the chance to get out from under this clumsy and difficult legislation. Surely MY state (Utah) would do so, since they fought for waivers and adaptations when we were still under the law.

Evidently not.

As of this month, December 2011, only eleven states have submitted waiver paperwork: Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Right, you don’t see Utah in that list.

What happened? Why not?

I am guessing that it’s because state legislators are still stupidly enamored of high-stakes assessment. They have bought the dog-and-pony show. They still believe that test scores can reveal anything (everything!) important about student learning. They still believe that taking more courses and taking certain courses will produce more effective teachers.

Educators and administrators in the real world know that this is an obfuscating smoke screen.

However, legislators evidently can’t come up with, or at least agree upon, assessment methods that can shore up their ill-supported notion that testing will reveal all that is important in education.

I would have thought that my state would have been one of the first to throw off NCLB, but no.

Kudos to those states who have done so.


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