Originally published at La Opini??n. Republished by permission.
The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) can finally set aside the requirements of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) federal program.
It would have been ideal for California to join the 39 states that already got waivers from the Education Department for a failed law that punishes schools and has placed an exaggerated value on tests. However, because of pressure from teachers' unions that opposed having student achievement as a factor in professional evaluations, our state has been left out of federal changes in K-12 education.
Nevertheless, LAUSD and seven other California school districts filed a federal request through the California Office to Reform Education (CORE). That is how the district obtained the waiver.
The decision has raised numerous complaints, because the federal action applies directly to the districts, bypassing Sacramento. This was a practical way to exclude the interests of organizations that are lobbying intensely to continue being governed by the absurd NCLB, instead of making healthy changes that require them to assume more responsibility for education.
We believe that this federal waiver, granted for one year, is good for students--especially for English learners--because it releases $100 million that school districts can use as they see fit to help these students.
This is an important moment for education in California. At the state level, a new formula is being implemented to provide more funding to districts that serve more low-income students and English learners. The federal waiver from NCLB requirements, after all, also has that same goal.