No Child Left Behind

Today, The Council of State Governments joined with nine organizations representing state and local governments to urge Congress to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, or ESEA. The current version of ESEA, known as the No Child Left Behind Act, expired almost five years ago, and broad reforms are long overdue.

The relevant committees in the U.S. House and Senate have already passed versions of ESEA, but the chances of Congress passing a full bill wane as the 2012 election approaches.

The No Child...

Today, President Obama released the names of the 10 states that will receive flexibility from a set of mandates in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), better known as No Child Left Behind.  Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Tennessee received approval.  An 11th state, New Mexico, submitted a request, but it was not granted at this time.  U.S. Department of Education officials will continue to work with New Mexico's education leaders to make adjustments to their initial request.  Officials in 28  states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico say they will request a waiver to NCLB mandates by Feb. 21, 2012 for the second submission opportunity.

Educators and policymakers realize that all of America’s students need a high-quality education to prepare them for college and careers. 2012 promises to be another busy year in  transformational strategies in education. In order to ensure a world-class education, leaders will likely address these top five issues facing states and territories (“the states”) this year.

Minnesota and Indiana were among the first 11 U.S. states this fall to formally seek waivers from key provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act.

With all eyes on the Super Committee as it finishes determining the fate of the federal budget, Congress has been more quiet than normal. The same cannot be said about the White House, however, as President Barack Obama has taken a series of executive actions to promote his own economic policy agenda. In the past week, the White House has announced plans intended to help veterans, homeowners, teachers and student loan borrowers. But will any of these initiatives move the needle on a stalled economy or provide relief to cash-starved state budgets?

The U.S. Department of Education has announced it will offer states relief from the strict accountability centerpiece of No Child Left Behind, even without Congressional authority to provide reprieves to states failing to meet accountability benchmarks.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Melody Barnes, director of the Domestic Policy Council at the White House, announced the plans on Friday.  Duncan said the specifics of the package will be made public in September....

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has become the latest state to request a waiver of the No Child Left Behind requirement that 100 percent of all students are proficient on the state assessments by 2014. The state assessments consist of the Michigan Education Assessment Program (MEAP) and Michigan Merit Exam (MME). Michigan made its request in response to the new college and career ready cut scores that will go into effect with the upcoming school year.

The list of states seeking relief under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act continues to grow. On Friday, Tennessee’s governor and education commission jointly announced the state will apply for a federal waiver from NCLB accountability standards for Tennessee schools. Instead, they want Tennessee schools to be held to the state’s Race to the Top goals, which would be easier to achieve than the rising NCLB standards.

The U.S. Department of Education announced on Wednesday that states will begin reporting high school graduation rates for the 2010-2011 school year using a new, more rigorous, uniform four-year adjusted method, first developed by the nation's Governors in 2005. The new reporting guidelines will likely result in lower reported graduation rates than in previous years, according to a news release issued by the U.S. Department of Education.

U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s agrees with state officials in South Dakota, Montana and Idaho that the federal education accountability law commonly known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is broken and needs to be overhauled by Congress. However, that doesn't mean he's willing to accept plans by those states to thumb their noses at NCLB guidelines and use their own accountability measures instead of those imposed under NCLB.