September 23, 2020

Obama rolling back Bush-era education law

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama, trying to energize school performance at the local level, wants to give states the flexibility to opt out of provisions of the No Child Left Behind law, a Bush-era education initiative that has grown increasingly unpopular as more schools risk being labeled a failure.

Under the plan Obama was to outline Friday, states would be allowed to ask the Education Department to be exempted from some of the law’s requirements if they meet certain conditions. That includes enacting standards to prepare students for college and careers and setting evaluation standards for teachers and principals.

“To help states, districts and schools that are ready to move forward with education reform, our administration will provide flexibility from the law in exchange for a real commitment to undertake change,” Obama said in a statement Thursday. “The purpose is not to give states and districts a reprieve from accountability, but rather to unleash energy to improve our schools at the local level.”

The administration says it is acting because Congress has been slow to address the issues by rewriting the law.

But Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., who chairs the House Education Committee, has questioned whether the Education Department has the authority to offer waivers

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