Obama Offers Waivers to States Struggling to Meet No Child Left Behind

In a speech this morning, President Obama announced large-scale changes to the federal No Child Left Behind education law, alongside Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. States will now be allowed to receive waivers from certain parts of No Child Left Behind, as long as they agree to take steps towards improving schools and increasing accountability.
“The goals behind No Child Left Behind were admirable … but experience has taught us that in its implementation, [it] had some serious flaws that are hurting our children,” said Obama. Some states have relaxed their standards in order to meet the requirements dictated by No Child Left Behind and many educators feel that learning suffers when teachers are pushed to “teach to the test, two problems the new policy hopes to amend.
The Christian Science Monitor reports that many states already asked for waivers this summer, because No Child Left Behind requires that extra resources are funneled to schools that do not meet certain levels of math and reading proficiently. In the difficult economic climate, these funds simply do not exist in many school districts.
Duncan and Obama are also in favor of changing teacher evaluations, so that poor teachers will be weeded out and good ones can be better rewarded. “Teacher evaluations are largely broken in this country,” Duncan told the Huffington Post. “We’ve had a system that doesn’t reward excellence, doesn’t support those teachers in the middle that are trying to get better, that doesn’t weed out the teachers who are unfortunately not improving. If it doesn’t work for any of the adults along that continuum, I can promise you it’s not working for children.”
Image via The Huffington Post.
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