These days, counting on Congress to produce a piece of important legislation that can pass in both chambers is like relying on your unemployed, perpetually high roommate to feed your cat while you're away. He'll make a kind of a halfhearted effort, but when you get home, the cat will be dead, and he'll be all, "whatever." It's because the Department of Education has no faith that Congress will be able to agree on badly needed reforms to "No Child Left Behind" by September, as President Obama requested months ago, that it's decided to take matter into its own hands:
Officially called the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the law requires schools to show that all students are proficient on state standardized reading and math tests by 2014. Schools also must demonstrate yearly progress toward that goal or risk losing federal money.
Though specifics haven’t been set, schools would be released from that deadline and annual progress requirements if they agree to such changes as raising academic standards and evaluating teacher effectiveness based on student achievement and other measures, Duncan said. The department will make details public in September, and states could receive waivers this school year.
The chairman of the House Education Committee, Minnesota Republican John Kline, is upset with this move because he insists that Congress was, and still is, totally planning to produce a reform bill. Sure you are, John.
Obama Will Bypass Congress in Easing No Child Left Behind Law [Bloomberg]
Duncan to issue 'No Child' waivers [Politico]