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NCLB: How States React Key To Waiver Success

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Given how the waiver process has played out, there's little chance that today's announcement will do much to end the civil war that's been going on between so-called school reformers who want to retain as much of NCLB's focus on making schools accountable for educating kids and traditional educators who want a rollback of the focus on standardized testing.  

There's also little chance the announcement  will satisfy conservative-leaning pundits pushing for as much educational de-regulation as possible (and who may be disinclined to give the Obama team much credit for anything in an election year). Indeed, House education committee chair John Kline is rolling out his version of an NCLB rewrite this morning at AEI.

However, the White House announcement could affect how many states decide to go forward with their own waiver applications, however.  Roughly half the states had indicated a desire to apply for them -- anything to get out from under NCLB's AYP rating system -- though a handful are waiting and seeing or have said that it's not worth the expense or they're worried about a Congressional rewrite of NCLB that would require states to start all over again even if they'd received a waiver.  If more states start dropping out of the waiver process, the Administration might have to reconsider the review standards or face charges that it reneged on its promise of regulatory relief for states and districts.

So in the midst of the flurry of coverage and commentary be sure to keep an eye on how governors and state superintendents who were planning to apply react to the deals that have been cut.  That, more than anything else, will indicate the substantive and political success of the initiative.

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