Last week, NASDCTEc reported on U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncanâ€™s efforts to pressure Congress to hasten reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) by issuing waivers for states to bypass parts of the current law. Now, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), a nonprofit membership organization representing education chiefs from each state, has released a roadmap that will apply further pressure for Congress to take action.
CCSSOâ€™s roadmap, currently a working draft, proposes â€œnext-generation accountability systems aligned with college- and career-ready expectations for all students.â€ The roadmap is a combined effort of chiefs from 40 states and the District of Columbia to outline areas that should be included in state accountability systems, specifically through ESEA reauthorization. The accountability systems would still require schools to meet high standards, and would also provide more feedback and support to help schools make continuous improvements.
If Congress does not speed up the ESEA reauthorization process, states plan to request waivers to build new state accountability systems based on the roadmap instead of using the federal accountability system, according to leaders at CCSSO. If this occurs, the Department of Education will be inundated with requests for waivers all addressing essentially the same topic. This would unify the focus of the waiver requests received by the Department and would make very clear the kind of accountability systems preferred by states in the new ESEA legislation.
Yesterday, Congress approved the second in a series of education reform bills designed to overhaul NCLB. Despite pressure from Duncan, CCSSO, and others, it looks unlikely that Congress will complete reauthorization prior to the upcoming school year.