Haslam Stands With Obama on NCLB (at least today)

Gov. Bill Haslam’s push for the federal government to let states seek an exemption from performance standards under the No Child Left Behind school reform law has earned him a supporting role at the White House, reports Michael Collins.
Haslam will introduce President Barack Obama today at a White House briefing in which the president will offer states guidance on how they can get around some provisions of the decade-old law, a White House official said Thursday.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in August the administration would allow states to seek a waiver under the law. The Obama administration will spell out today the terms that states must meet to qualify for such an exemption.
Haslam announced in July that Tennessee had become the first state in the nation to ask for a waiver under the law, which was enacted under former President George W. Bush. The reforms sought to hold schools more accountable for student performance and get better-qualified teachers in classrooms.
But states have argued the standards are too punitive and don’t adequately measure student achievement. About half of schools in Tennessee currently fall short of meeting the standards under the law, according to the “annual yearly progress” reports for Tennessee schools.
As now written, states have until 2014 to achieve 100 percent proficiency in all tested subjects — based on state-administered tests — plus a 90 percent graduation rate. Most Tennessee schools are expected to fall short of those standards next year.
Tennessee’s waiver request basically asks the U.S. Department of Education to drop the federal standards for schools and substitute Tennessee standards
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