September 23, 2011

President Obama Announces New Push for Education Reform

By Brianna C. Fields

President Obama today announced that it was time to commit to tackling education reform and that he would allow states to apply for waivers that will give them flexibility from mandates under the ‘No Child Left Behind’ law that many officials agree is outdated and no longer effective.

The President stated that many states and school districts have initiated education reforms and innovations to support excellent teaching and encourage all students to learn and achieve success. No Child Left Behind (NCLB) has since become a barrier to implementing these practices and reforms.

The goal is to support states and local school districts transitioning to college and career ready standards and assessments, developing systems of differentiated recognition, accountability, and support, and evaluating teacher and principal effectiveness and supporting improvement. For example, a state will no longer have to set a target requiring all students to be proficient by 2014, but instead be allowed to establish ambitious but achievable goals in reading/language arts and math. States and school districts under a waiver would also have more flexibility related to the use of federal education funds.

In order to receive a waiver a state must develop a rigorous and comprehensive plan addressing the critical areas that are designed to improve educational outcomes for all students, close achievement gaps and increase equity, and improve the quality of instruction.

Link to White House speech/press release

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