While LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy says that a federal waiver from the law known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB) could free up $80 million for student and teacher support services for the district — without reducing school accountability — and the Obama Administration has begun reviewing the LAUSD waiver request, state education officials and now some Washington think tankers are expressing concerns.
In a recent blog post titled “Mr. Secretary, please don’t do it,” Fordham Foundation pundit Andy Smarick writes that a waiver approval for LAUSD and other districts would be “an unprecedented and unwise decision.”
Unlike others, the Fordham Foundation analyst isn’t so much concerned about what LAUSD is asking to do, or the federal government’s ability to oversee the progress of individual districts around the country, but rather the possibility that a waiver for LAUSD gives too much power to the Education Department in Washington and bypasses state education agencies.
Smarick also has some substantive concerns: “The proposed accountability system relies too heavily on non-academic measures; sets the expectations bar too low; has weak interventions; and, most troublingly, trusts districts to hold themselves accountable.”
The Fordham Foundation leans right. However, related concerns have also been raised by civil rights groups such as the Education Trust.