AASA Response to Obama's ESEA Waiver Proposal

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Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of the American Association of School Administrators, released the following statement in response to President Obama’s announcement today of NCLB waiver relief:

"For several years now AASA has, on behalf of our members, been urging the Obama administration to provide our school districts with regulatory relief from the provisions of No Child Left Behind. The administration had refused to do so on the grounds that they were hoping that ESEA would be reauthorized. So were we, and we would still prefer the reauthorization of ESEA. Unfortunately, it has become readily apparent that a divided Congress is not about to reach agreement on a new ESEA bill in a timely manner. Schools need relief this academic school year as NCLB punishments ramp ever higher.

"The Obama flexibility plan released today will provide waivers to states that apply for them with assurances that they will meet certain conditions. We are pleased with the plan’s intent to relieve districts from these regulations. However, we continue to object to a waiver process that requires the meeting of specific conditions.

"If we all agree that the regulations that are to be waived are onerous and an impediment to real change in our schools, then they should be waived for all schools, not just the ones in states that apply for and receive the waivers. We regret that many schools in the states that do not apply for waivers will still be identified as failing, when they are not. These schools will be forced to spend much-needed dollars on solutions that have not worked and continue to labor under a law that everyone admits is an impediment to progress.

"We continue to urge relief for schools via regulatory relief, the suspension of AYP and the 2014 targets, the ability of states to design their own accountability system and the removal of the 20% set-aside for SES and choice.


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