This is from a Washington State school board member. David Iseminger is on the board of the Washington State School Directors Association, and active in state and national education advocacy.
Arne Duncan recently revoked NCLB waivers for Washington State, a move which means most of their schools will be declared failing. Why? Because the state refused to make teacher evaluations dependent on student test scores, and because they refused to pass a law expanding the number of charter schools. They are paying a price for that.
Iseminger wrote a letter to Arne Duncan. Arne Duncan can keep his cynical NCLB waiver — Washington school board member
Dear Secretary Duncan,Finally he tells Arne Duncan that "You can keep the waiver. And regarding your failure letter – I have little interest in using our Lake Stevens letterhead to tell our students and educators they’re failures, because they are not."
Last week you revoked Washington State’s No Child Left Behind (NCLB) waiver, resulting in nearly every school in Washington being considered failing by your Department of Education. This summer, as a School Board Director in Lake Stevens, WA, you’re requiring I send a “failure letter” to parents of any school that receives your funding.
Your reason for revoking our waiver: we didn’t pass legislation you wanted. More precisely, we passed legislation, but it didn’t have the wording (actually, one specific word) you wanted.
Since you’re so distant from us – nearly 3,000 miles by one measure – let me tell you about this other Washington: We have strong leadership in our board rooms, schools, and classrooms; we have professional and effective educators; and our students are capable, confident, and work extremely hard. But don’t take my word for it – our SAT scores, among other measures, speak for us.
When NCLB was passed twelve years ago, it focused America’s resolve to elevate our children and our future. It was about accountability, about setting lofty and worthwhile goals, but it was also about believing in our educators, leaders, parents, and students. It was about what we would strive for, work toward. It was aspirational.
Today, NCLB has been subverted into a name-calling, label-applying bully pulpit.
I say good for him. The states are being bullied into education policies that have no basis in reality.