As Waivers Take Hold, ESEA Renewal Still Uncertain
Now that the Obama administration has issued more than 30 waivers to help states get relief from parts of the No Child Left Behind Act, a partisan and paralyzed Congress has yet to decide to whether to begin work on the long-overdue reauthorization of the underlying law—the Elementary and Secondary Education Act—or let the waivers provide lessons for an eventual reauthorization bill.
Lawmakers also must consider whether the policies put in place by the waivers work for students, particularly the traditionally overlooked populations that the law was designed to protect, such as students in special education and English-language learners.
Meanwhile, some members of Congress—as they made clear at a recent hearing on Capitol Hill—are still wondering whether U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan overstepped his bounds by issuing waivers to states with strings attached, in their view reworking major parts of the NCLB...
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