What do Massachusetts and South Carolina have in common? If you’re a political junkie, you might think “nothing”. But both states have recently made moves to seek waivers to the “No Child Left Behind” requirements.
The Boston Globe is reporting that Mitchell Chester, commissioner of elementary and secondary education in Massachusetts, believes that the federally mandated requirement “that 100 percent of students be ‘proficient’ on state exams by 2014 – a key part of the federal act – has lost credibility”, and in November, he will submit a waiver application to the Department of Education. He is soliciting assistance in the formation of that application now.
Meanwhile, South Carolina’s CBS affiliate WSPA is reporting that South Carolina wants out as well. Mick Zais, the state’s Superintendent of Education, is quoted by WSPA as saying:
“It’s unfair, it’s dishonest, and it’s demoralizing. A system where a school that meets 36 out of 37 standards under No Child Left Behind is still labeled as a failing school. Normally we say that’s 97%, that’s a passing score.”
WSPA has posted an excellent and insightful broadcast piece on this story online. The piece points out that if only one child fails, an entire school system can be declared a complete failure, resulting in federal actions.
For those who might assume that this is a political issue, consider that Massachusetts and South Carolina are on opposite sides of the political spectrum. Given that both states are seeking waivers, well, it’s time for the public at large to stand up and take note.
Something is wrong with “No Child Left Behind”.