Recently, Secretary of Education Duncan continued his push for the Obama Administration’s education policies as he provided an escape from the faulty and unrealistic mandates of the No Child Left Behind law. However, instead of simply admitting that NCLB does not work, needs an overhaul, and is being repealed, a press release was presented which says that states can be excused from NCLB if they sign onto other requirements. Here is part of that press release:
The administration’s proposal for fixing NCLB calls for college- and career-ready standards, more great teachers and principals, robust use of data, and a more flexible and targeted accountability system based on measuring annual student growth. Barnes and Duncan will note that the final details on the ESEA flexibility package will reflect similar goals. The specifics of the package will be made public in September.
Sounds like value-added scores or evaluations based on standardized test scores and Common Core standards being adopted, the same ideas in Race to the
Is this just a choice of the lesser of two evils? Escape from a bad law by agreeing to bad legislation? Essentially, Duncan seems to be telling the states that NCLB doesn’t work and the states can be excused from it if they agree to potentially worse (and unproven) legislation.
The federal level is not the place to solve local education decisions. Duncan even admits that the best decisions for schools comes from the local level:
There is no magic bullet for fixing education and the best ideas will always come from the local level—from the hardworking men and women in our schools doing the hard work every day to educate our children.
This offer from Duncan’s office and the Obama Administration appears at best to be an administration trying to push its education agenda onto states and at worst to be an open extortion of suffering states.
Reject this offer. Force the government to fix NCLB. Make the administration do what it promised.