Our View: Another NCLB waiver needed

Thursday , June 19, 2014 - 10:24 AM

Standard-Examiner Editorial Board

As frustrating as it may be to contemplate, No Child Left Behind is the law, and Utah needs to reapply for another waiver so the state won’t lose control over a portion of federal education funds.

Under NCLB’s name, the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act provisions, schools that accept federal Title I aid are required to have all students test at a specific level in reading and math. If a school fails to meet the standards, the feds can take control of 10 percent of the Title I money, and decide how to spend it.

Frankly, getting 100 percent achievement is impossible. NCLB has unreasonable goals, given the unique demographics of a school or district. Utah, along with 42 other states, have regularly received waivers from having most schools in the state receiving failing NCLB grades.

In our opinion, the best solution is to have Utah re-apply for the waiver. As mentioned, our schools’ demographics present a strong case for extending the waiver. NCLB itself is certainly in need of reform. It’s ridiculous that under NCLB standards, a school can achieve significant widespread success in reading and math but still receive a failing grade.

There are other options. Utah could drop out of NCLB and petition the state’s Legislature to make up the money that would be lost. However, having to rely on the Legislature for extra funding of $50 million every year seems like a reckless step to take.

Another solution is to convince the feds that NCLB can be changed to not include the 100 percent requirement. As of today, though, that’s not happening.

Let’s hope Utah gets a NCLB waiver and that the Feds understand that our schools are working very hard to do their best to comply with unreasonable requirements.

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