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NCLB Waivers for Districts Get Pushback From State Chiefs

The California school districts that are striking out on their own to seek waivers from parts of the No Child Left Behind Act were at the center of a contentious exchange in Washington yesterday between a handful of state K-12 chiefs and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

The substance of the waiver proposal from the nine districts—known as the California Office to Reform Education, or CORE—wasn't the focus of the handful of chiefs who spoke out. The state leaders—particularly Tom Luna from Idaho and Jason Glass from Iowa—pushed back mostly against the possibility that the federal Education Department, by granting waivers directly to districts, would tread on the school accountability turf that has always been the province of states.

Duncan tried to assure the chiefs that he is not seeking to weaken their role in overseeing the public schools, but that he needed to keep an open mind about district-level waivers, especially in the case of CORE's proposal. That waiver, if granted, would cover 1 million children who are collectively enrolled in the CORE districts.

Read Andrew Ujifusa's account of the exchange over at State EdWatch.

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