Alexandria, Va. (September 23, 2011) – The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is encouraged by the Obama administration’s announcement today to waive problematic and burdensome regulatory requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).
“The proposed NCLB regulatory relief plan is a positive step as it could provide much needed assistance to local school district efforts to improve student achievement,” said Anne L. Bryant, NSBA’s Executive Director. “However, the effectiveness of the plan will depend upon the details of the application requirements, the specific locally needed relief states ask for, and whether the merit of a state’s application is judged adequate by the U.S. Department of Education to receive the relief that it asks for.”
Michael A. Resnick, NSBA’s Associate Executive Director for Federal Advocacy and Public Policy, noted, “NSBA believes that federal requirements that are educationally, financially, or operationally counter-productive at the school house level should be eliminated as a matter of policy not as a condition for states qualifying to meet new conditions. We encourage the U.S. Department of Education to provide local relief along those lines should its state-based approach fall short of the local relief needed.”
Where state applications are approved, local school boards are pleased that they will be offered far greater flexibility in the use of federal funds to address their own unique needs. Of great significance to local school boards experiencing declines in their own revenue streams is the elimination of requirements to set aside 20 percent of Title I funds for public school choice and supplemental tutorial services. While local school boards may continue to fund additional tutorial and open enrollment programs, these funds may be used to support school improvement strategies that can more effectively address local conditions. NSBA commends the U.S. Department of Education for allowing this type of relief and urges states to request it.
Additionally, the plan allows states to request relief from NCLB’s other badly flawed policies and regulations, including an accountability system requiring all students and groups of students to be 100 percent proficient by 2014 and a one-size-fits-all system of punitive actions against schools and school districts such as the firing of principals and teachers or closing of schools that rarely resulted in consistent improvement in student achievement—rather than now allowing states to apply for allowing their school districts to design more promising and realistic initiatives.
“While local school boards generally welcome these positive changes, we hope that the U.S. Department of Education will recognize in its application process and for any rules that will still need to be eliminated or modified that there is great variation among school districts such as their size, geography, and operational capacity—including the capacity to implement the reforms that states will need to agree to in order for their applications to be approved,” said Resnick.
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Founded in 1940, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) is a not-for-profit organization representing state associations of school boards and their more than 90,000 local school board members throughout the U.S. Working with and through our state associations, NSBA advocates for equity and excellence in public education through school board leadership. www.nsba.org
Linda Embrey, Communications Office
National School Boards Association
(703) 838-6737; firstname.lastname@example.org