So far, 34 states and the District of Columbia have been approved for flexibility from provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act, with only a smattering of formal oversight from Congress (mostly in the form of this bipartisan hearing in the Senate education committee and this letter from House Democrats). Now Republicans on the House Education and the Workforce Committee—who haven’t yet held a waiver hearing—have some questions about waiver implementation, many of which pinpoint the political and policy challenges inherent in the waivers.
And they’ve sent U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, plus state chiefs who were approved for the flexibility, letters asking a list of questions, including:
•The number of meetings and communications that were necessary before each waiver request was approved.
•Why certain waiver request were denied
•The biggest challenges in waiver implementation (I’m betting teacher evaluation may come up here.)
•How a state could lose its waiver and how it would revert back to the current system.
Congress could put an end to the temporary waiver system by reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. But most insiders believe that’s not likely anytime soon, thanks in part to partisan (and intra-party) gridlock.