This was inevitable-the pressure of sanctions dictated by the well intntioned but flawed NCLB act are causing Washington policymakers to surrender.
Lawmakers had failed to act and update/modify NCLB to make the law more realistic-therefore President Obama will, by executive order, grant states waivers from the punitive sanctions on districts and states where schools have failed to meet the benchmarks of the law.
This will make education bureaucrats happy and give politicians cover--but this essentially will close the door on opportunities for many poor students, trapped in failing school attendance boundaries, from having the possibility of transferring to a better performing school.
And the recurring, tired line "The goal is unachievable" will be brought out by school systems nationwide and used again and again to rationalize and justify essentially what is a "grand lowering" of the bar by the Federal Department of Education. Sen. Ted Kennedy, an ardent supporter of NCLB, will be turning in his grave at what is going to happen--and it is sad.
My analogy is this:
Imagine a person is in terrible shape--so a long term excersise routine/regimen is introduced because absent this one's health will deteriorate and an early death will occur. The goal established is to have a physique like a professional bodybuilder at the end of a stipulated period--and nothing else will suffice. Is this a lofty goal? Of course. But it beats the alternative which is to just maintain the same failed eating and excercise habits. Now, the routines and dietary requirements of the plan to get in shape are easy at first, but the requirements gradually intnsify as the end period draws near. At the 60% completion stage, sanctions and penalties kick in. Things get hard. No weight loss, no breakfast. No strength increase, more workouts mandated. Assume that you stick with the plan, and you are making great strides, you are thinking about eating healthy, you are excercising more than ever, and your body is becoming toned and well defined. You are in much better shape than you were at the start of the program. With only twenty percent of the program left to complete, you have an epiphany: No matter what you do or how hard you work--you will never have the physique of a body builder--even if you complete the program. So, instead of completing the program to get as close to the goal as you, individually, can get--you cry, and whine and complain. You start making excuses for not wanting to do all the portions of the excercise routine-even though your body is now looking good. Great results do not matter, though, if you know you'll never look like Charles Atlas at the end of the program. So you cry, and whine and complain and beg for some of your old mainstays like jelly doughnuts and french fries. You complain so much to your trainer, that he lets you off the hook. He says, "Okay, you'll never get where this program says you must get to meet its definition of success, so I'll grant you a waiver of the routines if you just ask for them" You ask for the waiver, you get the waiver, and now you are headed back to the couch with a bag of chips and a milkshake, all the while saying to yourself, the goal was unachievable, so it is right that I return to my couch with my chips, candy and doughnuts"
As a nation, with these waivers, we are headed back to our couches to enjoy our doughnuts.
How very sad....
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