On November 9, New Jersey advocates cited many problems with the state's draft
application for an NCLB waiver. The state released the draft Nov. 3, claiming
it will meet the Nov. 14 deadline for the first applications, and allowed a mere
five days for public comment, including the weekend.
Because NCLB is acknowledged as a burdensome failure, 39 states, DC, and Puerto
Rico say they will submit waiver applications, with 16 planning to finish by
Nov. 14 and the rest in mid-Feb.
Incomplete and appearing hurried, the NJDOE draft fails to meet some of the
U.S. Department of Education's waiver
application requirements, such as sufficient public outreach, and listing
the schools that would be identified as "priority" and "focus" schools based
on current data.
The draft also indicates the state would suspend NCLB's "highly qualified
teacher" requirements and replace them with an untested evaluation system currently
in the pilot stage.
In its comments,
ELC (Education Law Center) urged the NJDOE to defer submission of the application
from Nov. 14 to the next application window in mid-February to address these
concerns and obtain public input and support. Additional comments from Rutgers
Law Professor Paul Tractenberg and the Patterson (NJ) Education Fund note the
abrupt public process and raise several issues and challenge the draft's promises
on matters that would require legislative action.
"A proposal that will have such far-reaching impact on our students and schools
deserves a full and complete presentation of the specifics of the plan, with
ample opportunity for legislative review and public input," said ELC Executive
Director David G. Sciarra. "A sketchy outline with five days for comment is
So far, California is not planning to submit a waiver application, based
in part on its own determination that implementation of the waiver requirements
would mean about
$3 billion in additional costs.
For a summary of the waivers and the applications, see Frequently
Asked Questions regarding ... Plan to Waive Major ESEA Requirements, from
the Center on Education