Hmm. Why do I get the sneaking suspicion that I have heard this before? Oh, I know. We wrote about it back on June 14 (Creative Non-Compliance).
The issue at hand is Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s disregard for federal law and his willingness to circumvent NCLB to grant conditional waivers to states and schools making it easier to avoid the “failing school” moniker.
Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) deserve credit for pushing the issue with the Secretary. On June 23, they sent a letter to Duncan about his proposal and as of the July 1 deadline had yet to receive a response.
In the meantime, the Congressional Research Service produced its own report. Kline put out a release encapsulating the findings:
The CRS analysis confirms the Secretary’s authority to waive statutory requirements under ESEA; however, the report warns of potential legal limits and challenges to the Secretary’s proposal to grant conditional waivers…The CRS report underscores the urgent need for the Secretary to fully explain his conditional waiver proposal and offer the legal justification for his plan.
Secretary Duncan, we know you are a busy guy, but don’t you think you owe it to not only the committee, but also American families, to explain your position? Or perhaps you’re just waiting for a waiver.