Education Funding

NCLB Waiver Rules Will Cost Calif. Billions, Schools Chief Warns

By Fermin Leal, The Orange County Register, Calif. (MCT) — September 27, 2011 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

California will need billions in federal aid to overhaul teacher evaluations and adopt new learning standards before it can qualify for a waiver from No Child Left Behind student achievement rules, according to state Superintendent Tom Torlakson.

“I would hope that the administration is prepared to provide the funds necessary to implement these provisions, or provide greater flexibility to California,” Torlakson said.

Torlakson on Friday repeated a previous call he made for the federal government to grant states unconditional waivers while Congress and President Obama work to reauthorize the 2001 law.

Under No Child Left Behind, schools must meet steadily rising achievement benchmarks until 2014, when all students are to be proficient in English and math—a standard educators frequently criticize as impossible. Schools that receive federal funding for at-risk students face sanctions that include having to offer free tutoring, changing leadership, converting to charters or state takeover.

Obama’s waiver offer, made Friday, allows states to avoid sanctions if they fail to achieve passing scores starting in 2012. But, to qualify, states must tie teacher and principal evaluations to student test scores, enact standards to prepare students for college and careers, and adopt national common education standards.

Torlakson said the proposal “would appear to cost billions of dollars to fully implement, at a time when California and many other states remain in financial crisis.”

Bay Area education finance think-tank EdSource estimates the cost at $1.6 billion for California to adopt common core standards ($800 million for new curriculum and texts, $765 million for training teachers and $20 million for training principals, plus assorted minor costs.)

Additionally, the state would have to spend millions to implement new teacher evaluation systems, and programs to prepare students for college and careers.

In recent years, the state actually began moving toward common core standards, including setting money aside for districts to begin purchasing new textbooks and instruction materials.

But the movement stalled due to the ongoing state budget crisis, as education lost billions in funding. The state has since placed a hold on the purchase of new textbooks, allowing districts to use those funds to offset other budget cuts.

“There are enormous costs associated with California moving in this direction,” said Orange County Superintendent William Habermehl. “It’s not just a matter of updating some lesson plans. This will require fundamental changes to the way we teach, how we test our students, and how we measure achievement overall.”

Events

Classroom Technology Webinar How Pandemic Tech Is (and Is Not) Transforming K-12 Schools
The COVID-19 pandemic—and the resulting rise in virtual learning and big investments in digital learning tools— helped educators propel their technology skills to the next level. Teachers have become more adept at using learning management
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Data Webinar
Using Integrated Analytics To Uncover Student Needs
Overwhelmed by data? Learn how an integrated approach to data analytics can help.

Content provided by Instructure
School & District Management Live Online Discussion Principal Overload: How to Manage Anxiety, Stress, and Tough Decisions
According to recent surveys, more than 40 percent of principals are considering leaving their jobs. With the pandemic, running a school building has become even more complicated, and principals' workloads continue to grow. f we

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Funding U.S. Senators Tee Up Big Boost in School Funding for Next Year
The fiscal 2022 bill would increase aid for disadvantaged students, mental-health professionals, research, and state academic assessments.
3 min read
Image shows lots of cash. Rolls of dollars lay flat on a light blue background.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Education Funding Opinion Don’t Plan on That Federal Education Spending Spree
A Democratic spending spree once depicted as inevitable is shrinking before our eyes, meaning big implications for education.
4 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Education Funding Feds Pump $1.5 Billion Extra Toward Schools to Address Cafeteria Food Shortage
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced funds to help schools more easily purchase U.S.-grown foods amid widespread supply shortages.
1 min read
Empty school cafeteria
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Education Funding Letter to the Editor More Money for Schools Isn’t the Answer
The real problem is not funding but demands that teachers do more than just teach their subject, writes Walt Gardner.
1 min read