Arne Duncan will allow states to apply for No Child Left Behind waivers shortly that will remain in place for three or four years. Of course, in order to receive a waiver, states are required to implement Race to the Top policies such as college and career ready standards (CCSS or a mirror image) and teacher evaluation systems largely based on student test scores.
In effect, Duncan is kicking the ESEA can down the road and solidifying Obama education policies for the next few years — beyond the next presidential election cycle. Of course, this is very good news for corporate education reformers and education entrepreneurs. The Obama administration is sending out strong signals that he and Duncan will not be tampering with policies that maintain their ability to profit from the education field. They can continue to operate in an unfettered free market and receive federal and state dollars to open charter schools, develop data systems to monitor school children, teachers, and schools, promote curricular material to support the CCSS, and create, administer, and score all those standardized tests!
It’s also good news for Republicans and Democrats on sides of the aisle. They are off the hook now. So what if they don’t get around to reauthorizing ESEA? Heck, it hasn’t been reauthorized for a dozen years now. No hurry. Arne Duncan maintains a firm grip on the the noose around the public education sector and will for the next few years. No need for messy debates in Congress about education policy. No need for presidential candidates to debate education policy. There’s absolutely no need to ruffle the feathers of those big foundations, corporations, and philanthropists who dominate education policy discussions. Any threat to their stakeholder status in education may mean a reduction in their donations to political campaigns. A grazing field of corporate profit continues to expand in America’s wild west of unproven free market education reform opportunities and initiatives.