State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today called on U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to provide state schools with immediate relief from the flawed policies of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.
“Relief is needed immediately before more schools suffer for another school year under inappropriate labels and ineffective interventions,” Torlakson wrote in a letter to Duncan.
The letter warns that many schools with rising student achievement will be mislabeled as failing under the “one-size-fits-all” approach required under NCLB. In addition, the letter notes that NCLB restrictions on how districts can use funding will further burden schools already hit hard by budget cuts.
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Torlakson proposed that California be allowed to freeze the imposition of sanctions and mandatory identifications for the coming school year at last year’s levels.
Torlakson noted in the letter that he is working with the state Legislature to put in place the next generation of accountability systems to evaluate schools more appropriately and effectively, and urged the Administration to support state-determined accountability systems.
In addition, Torlakson’s letter states that the current federal waiver proposal “presents problems for California” by asking states to commit to new policies that are beyond the scope of NCLB.
“The appropriate forum for consideration of any new federal mandates is through the Congressional reauthorization process, which by its nature requires greater transparency and broader democratic debate,” Torlakson said in the letter.