All told, during the past six months the department has received waiver requests from five states. In addition to Tennessee’s request, Kentucky, Arkansas, Kansas and Michigan have asked for relief. Utah, like Idaho, has worked with the department to modify its performance standards but has not officially asked for a waiver.Though Duncan’s June announcement on flexibility indicated that a formal waiver process would be forthcoming, the department has yet to release a final plan on how waivers would work and what alternative standards states might be required to achieve in place of the current ones. Education Weekreports that there could be multiple types of waivers and that states could be asked to meet new kinds of standards, such as college and career readiness goals, instead of the current standardized test performance thresholds
Jeffrey Solochek of GRADEBOOK asks:
Florida leaders have for years noted that there’s a disconnect between the state’s local school grading system and the federal one, with decreasing numbers making AYP even as the amount of schools earning good grades rises. They’ve said they’re working with the feds, too, to smooth over the differences.
But with states still relying on federal money to make ends meet, just how far can they stray from federal rules? And what’s to stop a return to the past practices where one state had much more rigorous standards than the next?
But therein Solochek’s rhetorical question lies the rub. Do we want national standards and thus federal control of education? The nation’s teachers will say no, and so will the Tea Party and many conservatives. While congress tries to sort this out, NCLB’s reauthorization couldn’t be much more up in the air.