Entries in Education Reform (2)


Obama to Offer States A Break From 'No Child Left Behind'

Creatas/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- With efforts to overhaul “No Child Left Behind” stalled in Congress, the White House announced Monday it will offer states waivers from the federal education law, so long as they show progress in making education reforms.

“What we want to do is put forward a very simple trade-off,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan told reporters at Monday’s White House press briefing. “Where there's a high bar, where folks are really doing the right thing for children, we want to give them a lot more flexibility; frankly, get out of their way and let them hit that higher bar.”

The current law -- approved by Congress with overwhelming support in 2001 and signed by President George W. Bush in 2002 -- requires students to be measured through standardized tests. States currently set their own standards for academic success and may risk federal funding if they fail to show adequate yearly progress in achieving their goals.

Critics, including the Obama administration, claim the current system encourages states to lower, or “dummy down,” standards so they can report better progress.

“We have low expectations and states that have moved down as opposed to up expectations for our children. And we also have a punitive system that does not allow for reform. In fact, it's a cookie-cutter system that is not allowing our students to move forward,” Obama’s domestic policy adviser, Melody Barnes, said.

By offering a break from the legislation, the White House hopes states will be encouraged to make further reforms, even if it means their testing scores go down.

The president sent Congress a proposal to revamp the legislation 16 months ago, but little progress has been made. On Monday, the Secretary had a hard time explaining the hold up on Capitol Hill.

“This should be bipartisan,” Duncan said. “We would love to see Congress act -- no question that it should have happened. We hope it happens some point down the road, but it hasn't, and we can't afford to wait.”

The White House plans to finalize the waiver system over the next few weeks and present a plan at some point in September. Every state can apply but will have to show they are committed to reforms and standards designed to prepare students to be college- and career-ready.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Michelle Rhee's Next Move: Florida Governor-Elect Rick Scott's Transition Team

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- An interesting move for former Washington, D.C. schools chief Michelle Rhee. She's joining Florida Republican Governor-elect Rick Scott’s education transition team.

Scott’s office made the announcement Thursday, calling Rhee “a nationally recognized education reformer,” who along with 17 other education leaders and experts -- mostly Floridians -- would help the governor-elect “find innovative ways to create a new education system for a new economy.”

It was less than two months ago that Rhee announced she was stepping down as chancellor of the district’s troubled public school system after a controversial three-and-a-half-year term.

During that period, Rhee ignited controversy for her aggressive efforts to reform Washington’s schools and clashed with teachers unions -- a point that has not been lost on Republicans like Scott.

But in the process, Rhee gained national notoriety and her next move has been the subject of speculation in education and political circles. She remained mum about her decision to join Scott's transition team in an appearance on Comedy Central's The Colbert Report Wednesday night.

"What is next for you? What job will you be forced out of next?" host Stephen Colbert joked to Rhee on the program. "Well, hopefully I won't be forced out of any job," Rhee replied, "but I'm trying to figure out what makes sense right now in terms of a next job."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio