From The Washington Post, breaking news, Feb 9, 2012: This afternoon President Obama will grant exemptions to 10 states, allowing them to waive adherence to some of the requirements of No Child Left Behind. One of the states is Colorado, a move that will surely cause local educators to cheer. The law, which led schools to focus classroom efforts heavily on testing and proficiency standards, featured punitive outcomes for those that failed to meet benchmarks – no matter their demographics or resources.
The 2001 law has been regarded for some time as deeply flawed, although Congress did not succeed in amending or nullifying it. The primary outcome of the waivers will be removal of the punitive results of failing to meet standards; for now, schools will still participate in testing and tracking students at predetermined grade levels.
Given the election season, education reforms will continue to be heavily debated, especially the cost of higher education, boosting college readiness, and the appropriate balance of federal and state control over instructional standards. The Denver Post reported on Feb. 7 that the number of high school students in Colorado who do not test as college ready has increased again, although several state colleges are showing better retention rates with those students. Clearly in Colorado, NCLB did not improve college readiness. On to the next thing, time for a junket to Finland to see what they’re doing that works so well!