The Obama administration announced its plan to allow states to waive certain requirements under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) which also is called No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Under the current law, 100% of students must be proficient in reading and math by 2014. Most schools are not reaching that goal. In order to receive relief from the penalties for not reaching their goals, schools must adopt “college and career ready” standards, focus on 15% of their most-troubled schools, and create guidelines for teacher evaluations based in part on student performance.
Several bills have been introduced in the Senate that would amend ESEA. Proposals include requiring interventions in only the lowest performing 5% of schools and allowing any student with a disability to be assessed with alternate assessments rather than the regular assessments given to other students (S. 1571) and removing the Secretary of Education’s ability to put conditions on waiver requests (S. 1567, S 1568, and S. 1569). The Arc is monitoring these developments closely since the NCLB is considered to have been the source of some improvements in the education of students with disabilities.