Thursday, February 9, 2012

We don't need no badges! I don't have to show you any stinkin' badges!


And so, with similar words (I imagine, I wasn't there actually), our state superintendent opened her news conference announcing that she had finally wrangled Oklahoma an NCLB waiver. After all, it has been asserted over and over and over again that President Obama has broken the law by detouring Congress to offer this waiver PRIOR to the successful passage of the reauthorization of NCLB. By extension, then, every superintendent to take a waiver for their state, is using ill-gotten 'gains'.

Though ROPE and a number of different conservative organizations have decried this move (you can find all the relevant literature and commentary here), Dr. Barresi has been stalwart in her insistence that Oklahoma must have this waiver - even going so far as to play 'enforcer' of sorts by making her board sign a 'resolution' saying they would not allow the "repeal of any of these reforms" or it "would result in the nullification of Oklahoma’s waiver..."  In the event you've been held at gunpoint by the hombres of Sierra Madre for nearly a year, here are the stipulations for the waiver according to EdWeek,
In order to secure waivers from the law, states have to agree to adopt "college- and career-ready" standards, such as the Common Core State Standards approved by 46 states and the District of Columbia; put in place new systems for evaluating teachers and principals; and come up with aggressive plans to improve the performance of low-performing schools.
This situation would be simply fascinating were it not so absolutely maddening. Here we are, witnessing our 'conservative' superintendent apply for (and now collect) federal money imposing more federal mandates while legislators like Representative John Kline, head of the House Education and Workforce Committee is moving AWAY from federal mandates and control. For Heaven's sake, even the National Governor's Association is backing away from federal control of education,
For instance, NGA doesn't want the federal government to dictate how failing schools should be turned around, dealing yet another blow to the department's four School Improvement Grant models, which just about everyone is down on these days.
And it doesn't want the feds pushing any particular set of standards (pretty interesting for the organization that helped make the Common Core State Standards Initiative a reality.)
And so, yet again, ROPE finds ourselves on the other side of 'conservative' while the state superintendent gets her treasure.

For anyone who wants to look through the NCLB waiver request, it can be found here.