MSTA has opposed NCLB nearly from it’s inception, worked against DESE’s application to receive Race To The Top funds several years ago and now we’re going on record as opposing this waiver to NCLB, which is nothing more than a fast track to new, unfunded and unspecified programs from the state.
Congress is likely to reauthorize ESEA and NCLB (it’s failed and they know it) and will feature new requirements. While the concept of awaiver sounds appealing, the reality is that NCLB is dead and a waiver from a dead program is meaningless. Specific details are not available regarding the waiver requirements and DESE’s offerings don’t add any additional critical information.
The next main concern MSTA has regarding DESE’s No Child Left Behind Waiver application is the attempt to tie standardized tests to teacher evaluations. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan’s end goal is to move every state public education system into a federal public education system featuring evaluation (and eventually testing, curriculum, etc.). The bottom line is this takes control away from local districts, parents and teachers in the education of their children. Not all test are created equal, whether for our students or our teachers. There is no compelling evidence of any sort to support the validity or effectiveness of a single evaluation procedure.
In her rush to seek waivers for NCLB, Commissioner Nicastro has pushed Missouri into a no win situation. There are no funds connected with this waiver, but they will bring a significant amount of new regulations and rules (by implementing MSIP5 two years early, at the end of this year). We have until January 5, 2012 to comment on the proposed application and include our concerns with leaving DESE in charge the implementation. As of now, there is no plan and no funding.
No resources (funding) from the federal or state budgets mean the tab for these changes is likely going to be the local school districts.
We want you to voice your concerns before the January 5, 2012 deadline opposing the NCLB waiver application. It’s now or never. You can read more from the Missouri DESE on the ESEA Flexibility Waiver Web page and submit your concerns via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can read our concerns here.