Citing it as the ‘right thing to do’, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has granted waivers from No Child Left Behind directly to the CORE Districts of California. “We’re going directly to the districts, not to the state, and frankly working directly with districts wasn’t an easy decision,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan told reporters Tuesday. “We’re not taking this on because it’s simple. We’re taking it on because it’s the right thing to do for more than a million students.”
But others were quick to decry the decision, “This is a pretty troubling development,” said Chris Minnich, executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers. “The states have always traditionally been in control of accountability for most school districts. . . . The idea that the secretary of education is controlling the accountability system in eight districts in California is kind of mind-boggling.”
The eight school districts are part of a nine-district consortium called the California Office to Reform Education, or CORE. The districts receiving the waiver are: Fresno, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento,San Francisco, Sanger and Santa Ana. Clovis Unified who is part of CORE was not included in the district waiver.
Where this leaves SES in these districts will remain to be seen. The wording of the highlights of the application states:
Building Capacity for School Improvement: CORE will provide low-achieving Title I schools with access to professional development and technical assistance from the CORE collaborative, which is specifically tailored to engage teachers of students with disabilities, English Learners, and low-achieving students. Should these schools fail to improve, they will receive escalating supports including joining communities of practice focused on their areas of need and partnering with Reward schools for additional support. The districts will use Title I funds previously reserved for supplemental educational services and choice-related transportation to support interventions in Priority and Focus schools and other low-performing Title I schools, including support for partnering teams, communities of practice, and expanded learning time.
As Expanded Learning Time could conceivably be additional tutoring services only time will tell how these waivers will affect the millions of students in these school districts. If you currently contract with one of the CORE districts and have additional information regarding intentions please comment below.