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Rep. George Miller urges CA to apply for NCLB waiver

By Theresa Harrington
Friday, October 14th, 2011 at 7:49 pm in Education.

In response to my story about California’s failure to signal early intent to apply for a No Child Left Behind waiver, Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, has sent the following letter to the editor:

“California should apply for a waiver from the outdated mandates of No Child Left Behind. It’s the right thing to do for our students, for our teachers and for the future of our state. If California does not apply for a  waiver as was suggested in yesterday’s ‘California fails to signal early interest in No Child Left Behind waiver’ piece, then state officials will be committing a huge disservice to our state’s school children and, in turn, our economic stability. I agree with Tom Torlakson that our best bet is a comprehensive rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. However, we can’t gamble on our students’ futures. Our students can’t wait any longer for Congress to act, which is why President Obama decided to move forward with waivers in exchange for reforms that will make a real difference in our schools. The waivers will also give school districts more flexibility and free up millions of federal dollars currently set aside for federal requirements. California educates about 10 percent of the nation’s students. A decision to opt out of this tremendous opportunity that the Obama administration is providing would be putting politics before student success, a risky and ill-conceived plan.”

The U.S. Dept. of Education reported that 39 states so far have indicated they intend to request the waivers, also known as “ESEA Flexibility.” A state’s indication of intent, however, is not binding.

Seventeen states said they intend to apply by Nov. 14, the deadline for the first round of funding. Nineteen states and Washington, D.C. indicated they would apply by mid-February, which is the deadline for the second round of funding.

Connecticut and Oregon indicated their intent to apply, without specifying which deadline they intended to meet.

California still has time to consider sending an application. The state Board of Education plans to discuss the issue Nov. 9-10, according to John Fensterwald’s Educated Guess column.

Do you think California should apply for a No Child Left Behind waiver?

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  • g

    Would these applications be handled by the same people who didn’t quite understand the requirements of SIG well enough to pass the correct information down the line?

  • Doctor J

    @G, let’s remember that the Calif Board of Education was wholly embarrassed when the Fed’s did their audits and discovered that 78 out of 81 Calif Districts had not kept their promises in the first year under the SIG grants, and that includes MDUSD. Thus, the Board members and the Feds required “Corrective Action Plans” [CAPS] none of which still have been approved before the second year money is to be released. At the Board meeting, the Board members used such words to describe the 78 California districts, including MDUSD, “Did they think no one was going to look ?” “Was it just a wink and a nod”. The CA BOE required the CAPS to be supported “with evidence”. Unfortunately, MDUSD Board never approved the CAP, never approved the MOU with MDEA — which by the way doesn’t meet the requirements of the August 12 letter from Supt. Torlaksen. And the 5 furlough days which are in the approved budget but not disclosed to the Feds or State, will cancel out most of the increased learning time and will probably do in the second year money. So I can understand why the state BOE is a little shy about committing to a new round of NCLB requirements — they, like most of us, have lost faith in the District leaderships who say one thing and do another. And the Fed now have said, if you don’t keep your promises, we want the money back. But I say, keep your options open California. And California Districts, keep your promises.

  • Wait a Minute

    You are absolutely right Dr.J,

    The MDUSD could very well find itself having to repay the SIG monies they already have taken for non-compliance with the terms.

    In fact, should the Feds or State get serious, Stevie Lawrence could be charged for knowingly lying on the legal assuarances with the SIG applications.

  • Flippin’ Tired

    The “outdated mandates” of NCLB? Wasn’t Miller one of the main architects of this crap piece of legislation?

  • Doctor J

    Well FT Paul, you liked NCLB well enough to authorize the district to apply for the original SIG grants using the NCLB criteria, but never followed up on their lack of performance.

  • Flippin’ Tired

    Still not Paul, “Doctor” J, but thanks for remaining paranoid! *lol*

  • School teacher

    According to wikipedia, Miller was one of the drafters of NCLB and has fought for continued/increased funding for it. This legislation was drafted just 10 years ago, and he is already calling it “outdated”. Sounds like they didn’t do such a great job in the first place, but I’m willing to bet if you go back and look at the sound bites and quotes of those involved, they would be saying this would turn around our education system. As I have told many friends, you can’t legislate education outcomes.

  • Number Eight

    “A Nation At Risk” started increased awareness and NCLB added a federal program and some progress. Many schools like Holbrook have the scores to show improvement and can take pride. A huge problem is unfunded mandates like special education. MDUSD funding is not per pupil, first we have to subtract funds for special ed and alternative schools, and then start dividing per pupil. Waiting with baited breath for MDUSD comprehensive accounting tomorrow…
    :)

  • Theresa Harrington

    Do you agree with the governor’s veto of a bill that would have expanded the state’s school accountability system? http://bit.ly/nzeQhr