October Government Relations Update

Administration Overrides No Child Left Behind On September 23, President Obama announced that the administration would allow states to request waivers on No Child Left Behind regulations. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said that the administration was acting because of Congress’s failure to rewrite the law. The administration will waive the law’s proficiency requirements for states that have adopted other accountability programs and are otherwise improving schools. In an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Secretary Duncan said that NCLB was “far too punitive” and had led to a “dumbing down” and “narrowing” of standards, so waivers would give states “room to move.”  More on the administration’s plans can be found on its No Child Left Behind “Flexibility” page.

Administration Extends Education Stimulus Reporting Deadline Also on September 23, the administration extended the data reporting deadline for the $40 billion State Fiscal Stabilization Fund. The education aid was tied to the reporting of numerous data points, with an initial reporting deadline of September 30. The new deadline is January 31, and if states request an extension, they will have until the end of 2012 to implement three “particularly challenging data elements: creating a longitudinal data system that satisfies the 12 components of the America COMPETES Act, reporting the number of high school graduates who enroll in college, and reporting the number who earn a year’s worth of college credit within two years,” according to EdWeek’s blog post.   Additionally, if states do not hit these new deadlines, the department could ask states to return SFSF funding, and take it into account for future grant awards.