This blog post comes from AASA Policy Analyst Leslie Finnan.
Twelve states (Arkansas, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, and Washington) applied for NCLB waivers in order to have another year to roll out new teacher-evaluation systems, USED announced. Two of the states, Maryland and North Carolina, are Race to the Top states, meaning they have already received money from the Obama administration to revamp their teacher evaluation systems. USED has signaled what it may not grant these waivers. Fifteen states ( California, Connecticut Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Vermont, and Washington) also applied for another waiver in order to lessen the number of tests students are required to take. This waiver would allow states to suspend some of their testing in order to focus on the tests from common-testing consortia. AASA opposes the use of waivers to lessen the burden of NCLB on states rather than reauthorize the ESEA bill, and prefers teacher evaluation systems to be the responsibility of state and local authorities.
In more hopeful ESEA news, Senator Harkin, Chairman of the Senate HELP Committee, said today that he hopes to have an ESEA reauthorization bill brought to vote in early 2014. Senator Harkin’s statement can he heard here. However, it is doubtful any action will take place so quickly because for the bill to be brought forward, it must include an opportunity for open amendments. This is unlikely even outside of the very fragile vote count.