Department of Education Scales Back NCLB Waiver Renewal Guidelines

On Thursday, the Department of Education released new instructions to states seeking to renew waivers for No Child Left Behind.

The new guidance is an attempt to  simplify and streamline the waiver renewal application process.  Most notably, the previous guidance released in August required states to show, through teacher-evaluation data, that poor and minority students receive access to effective teachers at the same rate as their peers; the new guidance backs off of this requirement.

The new guidance also removes a requirement that districts spend Title II (professional development) funds on “evidence-based” programs while linking them to new college- and career-ready standards.

Some civil rights and education groups have reacted negatively to the new guidelines, particularly with regard to equitable distribution of high-quality teachers. However, a letter from the Department to state education officials states that it is not backing off of these requirements, rather, that the issues of Title II funds and teacher distribution will be addressed outside of the waiver process.

The two posts from EdWeek below are great summaries of the revisions. Also, read the statement from the Education Trust decrying the new guidance:

Education Trust Statement

EdWeek:  Education Department to Scale Back Key Waiver-Renewal Mandates

EdWeek:  Five Takeaways From the Education Department’s NCLB Waiver About-Face

Shannon Kelly, Director of Advocacy, November 15, 2013. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)