ESEA Waiver Predictions

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This week the U.S. DOE will announce the recipients of waivers from No Child Left Behind/ESEA. If you recall, NJ is one of 11 states applying for waivers in this first round (here’s our application); waivers for ESEA’s stringent benchmarks will be purportedly granted for states that make promises to turn around chronically failing schools and beef up teacher evaluations.

Here, Mike Petrelli of Fordham prognosticates the results of the competition for flexibility:

How this is going to end: 4 predictions

So how will this go down?

1. The Department of Education will announce that most of the 11 states that applied were approved for flexibility. At first, this will lead to a Kumbaya moment.

2. Upon closer inspection, observers will notice that the amount of flexibility granted on accountability is tiny. Approved plans will amount to minor changes away from the AYP system we’ve got today.

3. The number of states planning to apply for waivers by February 21 will drop precipitously, as they realize that it’s just not worth the effort.

4. All of this will embolden members of Congress to talk (again) about the urgency of fixing No Child Left Behind for real (though nothing will come of it this year).

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