Mountain View Voice

News - November 4, 2011

Superintendent suspicious of NCLB waiver

by Nick Veronin

Although he has repeatedly criticized the No Child Left Behind act for being too restrictive, Craig Goldman, superintendent of the Mountain View Whisman School District said he suspects the state would simply be swapping one set "onerous and anachronistic sanctions" for another bundle of suffocating government mandates.

After publicly acknowledging serious flaws built into the No Child Left Behind Act, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has offered states a way to opt out of some of the legislations requirements.

However, while California's Schools Chief Tom Torlakson initially said he would consider applying for a waiver, his office's investigation into what such a waiver would mean for the state has found that it would cost "billions of dollars to fully implement, at a time when California and many other states remain in a fiscal crisis."

According to Goldman, the waiver would be costly to implement because of the "strings attached" to it, including a requirement that teachers be evaluated based upon their students' performance on the California Standards Test, or CST.

"The tests aren't designed for that purpose," Goldman said, noting that CST scores often vary widely from year to year statewide. "It's a good indicator of whether students are learning standards, but it does not necessarily indicate the effect of the teacher on individual students."

In order to satisfy the waiver requirement the state would have to develop an entirely new standardized test. "The feds are offering a deal that would be incredibly expensive for California without any clear indication that it is going to make a bit of difference," he said.

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