AASA and NSBA: DOE Waiver Plan the Wrong Answer




AASA: Kitty Porterfield, kporterfield@aasa.org, 703-774-6953

NSBA: Linda Embrey, lembrey@nsba.org, 703-838-6737

Call Continues for Real Regulatory Relief for Schools

ARLINGTON, VA. / ALEXANDRIA, VA Aug. 10, 2011 - The American Association of School Administrators (AASA) and the National School Boards Association (NSBA) today released the text of a new letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan again calling for targeted regulatory relief for the nation’s schools.

The letter is in response to communications from the U.S. Department of Education this week proposing relief to school districts via conditional waivers that require participating districts to adopt measures that support the administration’s education policy priorities.

“AASA and NSBA agree,” the letter states, with “the three areas proposed for regulatory relief within your plan—relief from the 2014 timeline, the 100% proficiency requirement, and highly qualified teacher regulations—but do not support the conditional nature of the waivers.”

“When the Secretary himself notes that 80 percent of the nation's school will be labeled as failing in the 2011-12 school year, it highlights how broken the current accountability system is,” said AASA executive director, Daniel A. Domenech in releasing the letter. “School districts should not be held responsible for the broken components of a law four years past-due.

“AASA and NSBA oppose the conditional nature of these waivers,” continued NSBA executive director, Anne L. Bryant. ”We believe that the regulatory relief needed should be locally directed, be accomplished through general regulatory waivers not an application’s process and not be tied to an exchange for new specific top-down requirements. Because of the economy, states and local communities are cash-strapped, and forcing school districts and state education agencies to adopt new policy priorities—especially unfunded—is problematic.”

The letter urges the Department “to act quickly in a manner that matches its own promise around providing relief to the nation’s schools.”


In May, AASA and the National School Boards Association issued a joint resolution calling for direct, targeted regulatory relief for the nation's schools. Specifically, the resolution would call for states to freeze their AYP/AMO accountability levels at 2010-11 school year levels, instead of ramping up to 2011-12 school year. To date, 1,200 individuals from all 50 states have signed the online resolution, and AASA and NSBA have received countless resolutions as adopted by local school boards and school boards associations across the nation.

In June, opposition claimed that the AASA/NSBA proposal called for blanket waivers and did away with accountability. AASA/NSBA responded with a statement clarifying its position, reiterating that a freezing of the specific AYP sanction is a narrow and targeted action, not a blanket waiver, and simply freezes accountability at current levels. (At that time, Secretary Duncan announced his interest in providing regulatory relief in a quid-pro-quo arrangement where states/LEAs would have to adopt policy priorities in exchange for regulatory relief.)

The AASA/NSBA statement recognizes that the regulations around AYP (the ones that guide implementation) “are what are causing the high rate of mislabeling.” Since regulations are the problem, it argues that targeted regulatory relief provides the most obvious answer: freezing the current sanctions levels to keep AYP and accountability in place while keeping the pressure on Congress to make substantive changes through the legislative process.


For more information: http://www.aasa.org/aasaBlog.aspx

About AASA
The American Association of School Administrators, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to the highest quality public education for all children. For more information, visit
www.aasa.org. Follow AASA on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AASAHQ or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AASApage.

About NSBA
Founded in 1940, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) is a not-for-profit organization representing state associations of school boards and their more than 90,000 local school board members throughout the U.S. Working with and through our state associations, NSBA advocates for equity and excellence in public education through school board leadership. Website: www.nsba.org
Twitter: www.twitter.com/NSBAcomm
Facebook: www.facebook.com/schoolboards



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