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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“California should apply for a waiver from the outdated mandates of No Child Left Behind.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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