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DFER Statement on President Obama's Announcement on No Child Left Behind Waivers

One of the reasons we have supported a strong federal role in education is we have seen what happened when states were responsible for making sure all students were educated. 

The federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act determines how billions of dollars are spent on behalf of low-income and minority students, English Language Learners, and students with disabilities. The advances these groups have made over the life of ESEA, including those under NCLB in 2002, have been hard fought, in no small part because they put greater demands on those responsible for implementing them.

That dynamic and that history will be the 800-pound gorilla in the room of any regulatory "relief" discussion. 

We heard some very reassuring things from the President today about his commitment to closing the achievement gap and have seen encouraging provisions in the waiver plan that suggest the Administration intends to provide flexibility only to those states that are engaged in robust reform efforts aimed at the goals of college and career readiness and an equal opportunity to learn and ultimately meet those goals for all students. 

We profoundly hope states are better prepared for this responsibility than they were in the past. But looking across the landscape and at the available data, in the case of the majority of states, we'd be lying if we said we weren't worried.

Additional Resources:

DFER Advisory Memo on Flexibility: click here.

U.S. Department of Education ESEA Flexibility web page: click here.

Education Trust brief "Getting It Right: Crafting Federal Accountability for Higher Student Performance and a Stronger America:here

Education Trust, the National Council of La Raza, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce letter: here.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights letter: here.

National Council on Disability letter: here.

Campaign for High School Equity letter: here.