By any measure, No Child Left Behind is massive. The 2001 legislation — the eighth reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 — runs to a massive 600 pages. It’s massively expensive, too, dispensing $25 billion in 2010. Most significantly, it’s a massive intrusion by Washington into education policy, an area previously considered the domain of state and local leaders.
Last Monday, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced that his department would begin granting waivers to states seeking relief from some of NCLB’s onerous provisions. At first blush, that might sound good. But the relief offer was conditional. State officials accepting the waivers must agree to conditions that the administration won’t even stipulate until next month.
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