A new move by the US Department of Education to bypass state departments of education is stirring up squabbles within the education community.
Education Week reports in “Arne Duncan Spars With State K-12 Chiefs Over District Waivers (Subscription?) that the latest No Child Left Behind waiver business, where waivers are granted directly to school districts rather than statewide, is getting some strong pushback from state education chiefs who realize this could create havoc in state education accountability programs.
If some districts have a waiver while others do not, the state will have to administer accountability programs differently in those districts. This will clearly run up state costs. In fact, if several different districts within a state get different waiver rules, states could conceivably wind up with true chaos in their accountability programs.
Voicing such concerns, EdWeek says:
“California Superintendent Tom Torlakson expressed anxiety about how his department may have to judge CORE districts differently than other California districts if they were granted a waiver.”
EdWeek also writes:
“Idaho Superintendent Tom Luna, …told Duncan he would have a big problem if the federal department went directly to districts to work on waivers and didn’t join hands with states on the issue. ‘It’s an affront to states (sic) rights,’ Luna told Duncan.”
“Luna, who was elected in 2006 on the Republican ticket, kept hammering away, saying that states had a constitutional right and responsibility to oversee their districts and not let the federal government intervene in such cases.”
Wow! Educators at odds over states’ rights. Imagine that!