« Montana Chief Denise Juneau Announces Run for Congress | Main | This Is Not a Test: One State's Assessment Pilot Seeks to Grow Up and Out »

Nebraska Hits the Brakes on NCLB Waiver Request

Will we see a reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act soon? Matt Blomstedt, Nebraska's education commissioner, thinks it's a real possibility, according to published reports.

In fact, he is hitting the pause button on the state's pursuit of its first-ever waiver from many of the mandates of the NCLB law, to give lawmakers time to get the bill across the finish line. (Forty-two states and the District of Columbia already have waivers, but they aren't as politically popular as they used to be.) 

Nebraska, which applied for a waiver back in March, always knew its request was a long shot. 

The state is reluctant to mandate that all its districts adopt teacher evaluations that take student progress into account, although it has come up with a model performance review system that districts can choose to participate in—or not. More in this story from the Omaha World-Herald.

The feds, on the other hand, have been pretty firm that state test scores must be a part of the teacher evaluation picture, even though the Education Department hasn't been enforcing that piece of the waiver puzzle nearly as stringently as they were just a couple years ago

Apparently the Education Department told Nebraska that the voluntary teacher evaluations wouldn't cut it. But instead of going back to the drawing board, Blomstedt is pinning his hopes on Congress, and especially, the new Speaker of the House, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc.

Blomstedt may have good reason to be optimistic. Aides to the key lawmakers on K-12 policy, Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., as well as Reps. John Kline, R-Minn., and Bobby Scott, D-Va., have been burning the midnight oil trying to find a compromise between the House's GOP-only NCLB rewrite, and a companion bill that passed the Senate with big bipartisan support. More on the process here

There's some question though, as to whether Ryan would put the legislation on the floor, since the compromise would need Democratic support to pass. Blomstedt, for one, has faith, according to the World-Herald. 

Don't miss another Politics K-12 post. Sign up here to get news alerts in your email inbox.

Follow us on Twitter at @PoliticsK12.

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Follow This Blog


Most Viewed on Education Week



Recent Comments