We learned today that the U.S. Department of Education has accepted South Carolina's request for waivers from some of the provisions of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. That is the news we have been waiting for since NCLB was passed in 2001 because educators knew the provision requiring 100% of our children to be at grade level by 2014 was a statistical impossibility; a worthy goal we strive for, but impossible. You can see the letter Secretary of Education Arne Duncan sent to State Superintendent of Education Mick Zais at http://www.ed.gov/esea/flexibility/requests.
You will read in the letter that while they have approved the waiver, they noted that the local education agencies (school districts) have much angst with our state's proposal:
"...we are concerned by the lack of local educational agency (LEA) support for South Carolina’s proposed accountability system and the potential impact of that lack of support on the effective implementation of South Carolina’s request. The Department expects that South Carolina will conduct robust outreach to all LEAs to ensure that school and LEA leaders are informed about the State’s new accountability system, including how the metrics are designed, how the system will be implemented, and how the State educational agency (SEA) will work with LEAs to support continuous improvement in all schools. We expect that this outreach will be proactive and will be designed to result in a clear understanding by stakeholders of the impact of the new system on South Carolina’s LEAs and schools. Additionally, as South Carolina implements its ESEA flexibility request, the Department expects that the SEA will meaningfully engage and solicit input from stakeholders and meet regularly with LEA superintendents."
Hopefully, this letter from Secretary Duncan will signal a new dawn of collaboration between the State Department of Education and school districts; the situation since the 2010 election has been filled with negativity, and I am ready for a change. This can only help our children....