Posted on September 23, 2011

Obama to Waive Parts of No Child Left Behind

Sam Dillon, New York Times, September 22, 2011

Criticizing Congress for months of inaction in updating No Child Left Behind, President Obama on Friday offered to lift the law’s most onerous provisions, including its 2014 deadline for bringing all students to proficiency in reading and math, for states that promise to follow his administration’s own school improvement agenda.


Under the plan outlined by the White House, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is inviting states that agree to overhaul low-performing schools and adopt more rigorous teacher evaluation systems to apply for relief from the Bush-era law’s 2014 deadline and other unpopular provisions. States that qualify for the waivers would be allowed to design their own school accountability systems.


“This is the beginning of the end of the No Child era,” said Jack Jennings, president of the Center on Education Policy, a nonpartisan research group.


The No Child law, signed by President George W. Bush in 2002, requires testing in reading and math from grades 3 through 8 and once in high school, and reporting of scores for groups of students including racial and ethnic minorities. Even the law’s critics praise it for drawing attention to student achievement gaps. {snip}


Even in states granted waivers, many of the No Child law’s fundamental features would remain in effect, including the requirements that all schools administer reading and math tests every year, and release the scores to the public in a form that shows the progress made by minority groups and disabled students.


33 responses to “Obama to Waive Parts of No Child Left Behind”

  1. Michael C. Scott says:

    Does this mean that the validity of the old adage “You can’t fix stupid” has finally dawned on our elite cognoscenti, who, according to themselves, have been utterly infallible on every social issue – right up until now?

    I am shocked; utterly shocked.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I have taught latino and black ‘youffs’ for years. In the schools I’ve worked for, we have tried every gimmick and new technique that comes down the pipeline.

    Nothing seems to work. Nothing.

    So that’s why many teachers now cheat (or at least grade VERY generously) on the grading of state tests. Most admins I have known pressure them to do so under threat of getting on the ‘you-are-ineffective’ track, which leads to firing eventually.

    Admins in turn are pressured by their supervisors, who are pressured by the politicians to ‘close the gap!’ And ultimately, the parents elect politicos who promise to bring the ‘youff’ and the non-English speaking latinos ‘up’ to the level of white kids.

    It is a circle of lies and duress. Many of us teachers know what these kids need and would love to teach them at their level so as to properly bring them up as much as possible without crushing their spirits, but ‘tracking’ the students by ability level is considered ‘racist,’ so we all are forced to live by the fiction that little Jayquan and Pablo have the exact same capabilites and cultural background that white kids from the suburbs have.

    The lessons just go over their heads. They stop doing homework at about grade 5 or 6. They look at school as a place to go for free food and to see their friends and act the fool. Gang life, gangsta rap, hip hop and the horrible, non-white values of African and Amerindian tribal peoples set in and become concretized.

    The young and spritely Teach-for-America ‘supermen’ do their little games and tricks in class to try to get these black and brown people interested in ‘white’ knowledge, but it never really works, and after a while the TFAers ‘refocus’ on social justice.

    They really do give up all pretenses of teaching ‘white’ knowledge, and instead start focusing on ‘social justice’ which is so much easier to ‘teach.’ “Blame whitey for everything! Then it doesn’t matter if you ‘fail’ because it was all stacked against you anyway! Let’s make posters of MLK and Caesar Chavez in English class and build ‘bridges of diversity’ from soup cans in math class!”

    The kids are 5+ years behind in skill levels. Sometimes it’s noticed and the newspaers due ‘in-depth’ stories and people get mad. Then the pressure is applied in the circle of deceit.

    “Test scores must go up or you lazy teachers will lose your jobs!” So the circle of cheating kicks in in high gear. Most of it is subtle and undetectable. Some school districts are full of affirmative action teachers and admins, so they don’t know how to cheat or ‘grade easy’ properly. Those stories make for funny reading.

    I don’t cheat, but I’m in a unique position so I don’t have to, and the thought rankles me besides, but the younger mostly female, and sometimes minority teachers have lesser scruples in their fear of being fired!

    Always remember that nearly all the ‘gains’ you ever see in urban school districts are the result of massive fraud of many types both blatant and subtle. I have seen this in my 24 years of teaching, in three different districts, across 11 schools.

  3. Daniel says:

    To me it sounds like ‘Bammy is throwing in the towel, he knows that there are certain demographics that just can’t or will not learn. He knows they are just wasting money, they are a lost cause. It’s cheaper to put them in prison, than to send them to school.

  4. WR the elder says:

    Obama should just refuse to enforce that unconstitutional law in its entirety. Congress has no authority to run our public schools.

  5. sbuffalonative says:

    2 — Anonymous wrote at 6:09:

    I urge you to consider writing a piece for AR. You’re personal experience and insights with this issue are invaluable.

    I have no doubt you could write a cover piece.

    Please give it serious consideration.

  6. Anonymous says:

    No Child Left Behind. Behind what? Behind statist interventionism, of course. Poor George Bush. A struggling man faced with complete failure to protect the US came up with a typical collectivist approach to industrial education for the unwitting larvae of the citizins of the US. And what a surprise. Our current Collectivist/Statist president has decided to quash a few of the dregs of what remains of indoctrination education in this country. He won’t go far enough, of course. That would require a new course of action.

  7. olewhitelady says:

    Either this waiver was issued, or nearly every school with significant black and Hispanic student populations would face firings of teachers and principals and school closings according to the rules of No Child Left Behind. Now that the cat is out of the bag on widespread cheating and grade changing, such ploys can no longer be safely used to avoid the NCLB penalties. The law itself will remain intact, because otherwise Obama would have to explain his reasons in seeking its termination. Waivers will be used to kick the can down the road.

  8. Cousin Charlie from TN says:

    “4 — WR the elder wrote at 8:13 PM on September 23:

    Obama should just refuse to enforce that unconstitutional law in its entirety. Congress has no authority to run our public schools.”

    That is so true. Not a federal issue. Cut all funding thereto, and fire all workers so employed, ASAP.

    I know that won’t happen, but it should.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Ordinarily I would applaud this move — you can tell the “No Child Left Behind” Act is pure nonsense just by its name — but knowing that Obama is an even more of Radical Egalitarian dreamer than Bush, whatever Obama replaces NCLB with is sure to be even dumber, even more utopian, and even less workable.

  10. Guest says:

    Congress doesn’t have authority to run the schools, it’s true. On the other hand, No Child Left Behind has meant that parents have hard data to use when selecting neighborhoods to buy homes in. We can tell, when a school gets a low ranking, how our kids are likely to do compared to the rest of the kids, and other valuable information. No Child Left Behind gave us data for the obvious, I guess, but when my kids’ ma says she wants the kids in more diverse schools (!) I can’t just point to the obvious. I need those test scores.

  11. Anonymous says:

    On the I go over a way to make schools work again. We need to sort kids by ability into different schools. its that simple. Ignore race. If some teachers cheat on scores, and a child falls behind, then they drop to the lower school. So cheating wont get anyone anywhere for very long.

  12. Reformed says:

    The Blacks and Hispanics that graduate high school are at a minimum 4 years behind Whites and Asians on average. Those are the bright ones. More than half of them don’t even make it that far.

    Teaching Blacks and Hispanics white knowledge in a white fashion is impossible. Think about public education. In 12 year’s time they want to triumph over thousands and tens of thousands of years worth of culture and evolution.

    The teachers all admit that they must give the non-whites comically easy homework. They all grade on curves and pass people along just so they won’t get accused of being “bad” teachers.

    Look at Detroit. Nearly half of the adults, to include high graduates and GED recipients, are functionally illiterate if not entirely illiterate. Public schooling is a 250 billion dollar a year white tax payer funded chow hall, daycare center and pre-prison for non-whites.

  13. Reality says:

    Blacks will never be able to keep up with whites because they don’t have the mental capacity. A friends wife is a teacher in a school that is about 70% black. She said it’s impossible to teach them anything, they don’t try. In fact, one attacked her a couple weeks ago by throwing a large rock and hitting her in the side of the head with it. She ended up with 23 stitches, a concussion, half her head and face swelled up, and she is still having headaches and concentration issues. She quit BTW, and they’re suing the school and school board. This ‘youth’ had threatened her before and even though she filed formal complaints no one did anything. Oh, and he’s (the ‘youth’) back in school. Yep, STILL they do nothing.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Doesn’t it demand Algebra 2 and some sort of calculus and trig?

    Not that many Whites and asians can cope with calculus and trig.

    Those subjects need more than average 100 and 105 IQs, more like 115 with a struggle and tutoring.

    It takes an IQ of 120 to get through those subjects without a struggle. Then too, there are a lot more people with verbal and spatial relation facility than math facility.

    I never took more than geometry with a low B. Algebra 1 was a struggle. The only math I have used since I was 15 and finished geometry was addition, subtraction, multiplication fractions and percentage. I have made a very good living all my life.

    I can figure out interest rates and sales tax in my head. That is the only reason I use percentage. Percentage is nothing more than multiplication anyway. Once in a while I figure out how many boxes of 10 inch tile I will need to tile 9 sq feet of the bathroom.

    I more or less memorized the metric and Celsius systems when I lived in Europe

    What is the purpose of all that high level math? To flunk everyone with with IQs lower than 115 out of high school?


    Were I a black activist I would say that Bush created no child left behind to show that blacks are not capable of finishing high school.

  15. Anonymous says:

    What is going on here is very simple. The longer the current law stays on the books the more obvious it becomes to everyone that blacks cannot measure up to whites.

  16. Tab Numlock says:

    What I call “tax and rebate” should have been declared unconstitutional decades ago. The feds should not be allowed to use their power to tax to usurp authority not granted by the constitution.

  17. MADMICK says:

    re: poster14, anon.: I too almost didn’t make it out of high school, I took geometry 3 times and finally passed on my grade point average [D!]. My math and verbal SATs sported an almost unheard of 300 point discrepancy. It seems that part of my brain is, well, empty. I use it to store obscure facts about the Supremes, and bitterness I just can’t let go of……

  18. Robert Binion says:

    Surrender! Forget not that NCLB is legislation of which Sen. Edward Kennedy was most proud and that this waiver is devaluation of his legacy. Detroit lays siege to Camelot.

  19. Fr. John says:

    The old adage, ‘You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear,’ was never truer.

    My wife (yes, some priests can be married- not all of us are Romanists) has been a teacher for 30 years. She concurred with this statement, on hearing of the Obamanation’s cop-out to his ‘bruvas’, and said, “Luckily, I’ve not had many of those sow’s ears, but they’re out there, and getting more numerous every year, thanks to ‘Diversity’ baloney.”

    Obviously, an intelligent woman. You can see why I married her! lol

  20. Boondoggler says:

    NCLB should never have been passed and put into action in the first place. To believe that all childern can achieve ay the same level is ludicrous, which is the very best one can say about it. I taught in the elementary classroom from the beginning of this travestry of education. Kids do not attend school to be constantly preparing for a test which literally proves nothing. The test does not show what a child does on an average day;a day when he/she feels well and rested; a day when he/she has not left his home after watching mom and pop fight; a day when his/her friends are still his/her friends and there are no arguments or misunderstandings between them; and a day when,gee(!)taking a test is like the most fun thing ever! A child enjoys school when he loves his teacher; when he finds interesting information along with the non-interesting stuff he needs to learn; and he is at an emotional and physical level of growth with which he is able to face new information with comprehension, rather than a total clueless inability due to lack of readiness due to immaturity. NCLB has ruined learning for children and worse for teachers. Classroom teaching used to be fun for teachers (why else would they work for such pitiful salaries). NCLB has ruined the best parts of school. If it goes away, it will be the only intelligent area which Mr. Obama has considered in its only light.

  21. OldSchool says:

    The TRUE legacy of the nefarious Bush/Kennedy “No Child Left Behind” debacle is the number of truly fine teachers who were driven out of the profession by this piece of legislative merde. I witnessed it all firsthand. First, the Math teachers quit. Then the Science teachers. Then the Special Education teachers. All were driven out because they weren’t up to the challenge of making feral thugz or children with organic brain disorders into first-rate scientists or mathematicians or non-disabled scholars. Those instructors who were bright and enterprising – the ones most badly needed by the schools – simply walked out. I remember seeing one black parent shouting down a Chemistry teacher in the hallway because her son was so far behind his(few) white classmates. He calmly replied, “Do you blame your dentist for the fact that your kids have cavities?” – and then he departed for private industry at the end of the school year. At least as far as high needs teaching fields (i.e., those with teachers who have other professional options) are concerned, we have lost a whole generation of instructors whom we could ill afford to lose and whom we cannot easily replace. THIS is what NCLB has wrought. I sincerely hope that George Bush gets a very painful comeuppance and I hope that Ted Kennedy is burning in hell.

  22. Anonymous says:

    “My math and verbal SATs sported an almost unheard of 300 point discrepancy.”

    Mine had about 450 points difference. 778 verbal, 480 soemthing math. Something wrong with how my brain is wired.

  23. John Engelman says:

    No one but a huckster for Charles Atlas pretends that it is possible to take a sickly fifteen year old “ninety-seven pound weakling,” and turn him into an award winning athlete. Nevertheless, No Child Left Behind assumes that every child can become an excellent student who is capable of benefiting from a college education.

    No Child Left Behind makes prospective public school teachers even less willing to teach in inner city schools. It blames teachers in those schools for not getting the same results they could in upper middle class schools full of students with high IQs who are trying to get into the colleges of their choices.

    Since the failures of the 1960s Republicans have complained of “social programs that don’t work.” No Child Left Behind has George W. Bush’s finger prints all over it.

  24. John Engelman says:

    I believe that every child can learn the basic skills on which the rest of their life depends.

    Some say it is unfair to hold disadvantaged children to rigorous standards. I say it is discrimination to require anything less –

    the soft bigotry of low expectations. Some say that schools can’t be expected to teach, because there are too many broken families, too many immigrants, too much diversity. I say that pigment and poverty need not determine performance. That myth is disproved by good schools every day. Excuse-making must end before learning can begin.

    – George W. Bush

  25. Math Teacher says:

    They are forcing algebra on 8th graders these days, along with problems that require “higher level thinking” skills. This level of math requires a serious commitment to learning and lots of effort, but between in-class disruptions, poor math skills (don’t know multiplication tables or understand negative numbers), and refusal to do any meaningful homework or classwork, most students are doomed to fail according to the current standards set by the NCLB. It is frustrating for everyone expect for the people making the laws.

  26. Bon, From the Land of Babble says:

    Does this mean that the validity of the old adage “You can’t fix stupid” has finally dawned on our elite cognoscenti?


    Don’t think the elite illuminati don’t know “you can’t fix stupid!”, they do, and know it well. But, they must bow down to educational dogma to keep their three-figure, cushy jobs as exalted educational theoreticians and advisors to government committees.

    Educational Dogma consisting of:

    1. There is no such thing as IQ (except in death penalty cases).

    2. All students are equally capable of mastering advanced math, physics and calculus.

    3. Student failure is the fault of incompetent teachers and/or White racism, usually both.

    The young and spritely Teach-for-America ‘supermen’ do their little games and tricks in class to try to get these black and brown people interested in ‘white’ knowledge, but it never really works, and after a while the TFAers ‘refocus’ on social justice.

    There is no such thing as White knowledge in modern public schools.

    The entire curriculum revolves around the following: Whites = Genocidists, oppressors, slavers and bloodthirsty colonists, Non-Whites = Gaia-loving noble creators of the highest civilizations and technology, all stolen and co-opted by Whites, hence the need for social justice.

    Those who don’t believe me, open up a modern science or math high school textbook and look at the pictures. See any Whites? I opened up my son’s AP Calculus C textbook and saw no mention of Newton or Leibniz. Plenty of pictures of blacks and browns “making use of” advanced calculus, though. It seems calculus just appeared from nowhere and only blacks and browns are able to decipher it.

    Doesn’t it demand Algebra 2 and some sort of calculus and trig?

    By it I assume you mean a high school diploma? The answer is no. I am only aware of the LAUSD (Los Angeles) demanding Algebra II as a requirement for high school graduation, and even then, this requirement has been rescinded every year except for this year. Most high school districts require math only through geometry and that’s it.

    What is the purpose of all that high level math? To flunk everyone with with IQs lower than 115 out of high school?

    My own district is 73% hispanic and 11% black. That means 84% of the students in the school district have IQs approximately two SDs below 115. Why are students with approximately 80-90 IQs mandated to take Algebra I, let alone Geometry or Algebra II?

    Oh yeah, it’s because the government would rather spend another trillion dollars trying to “prove” that IQ doesn’t exist and that all students are capable of mastering advanced math, physics and chemistry.

    The NERVE of those incompetent teachers trying to hold NAM students back from mastering advanced math and science!! Fire ’em all and let the Teach for Americas take over!! Send ’em straight to the two new high schools that just opened in my district: Social Justice Learning Academy and Social Justice Humanitas.

    I’m not making these names up BTW, because I don’t have to.


  27. Shawn (the female) says:

    All excellent comments. Yet I think one monstrous issue is continually overlooked in the quagmire called public education. All focus has (as usual) been on the effects of schooling on blacks and other minorities only and their ‘needs’. By omission of fairness in reporting we are supposed to assume all whites are breezing through the curriculum with flying colors as it stands.

    The fact is that the current pathetic standards that have been adopted (though futilely) to give minorities all but a pre-printed passing report card have also caused many white students to fail to strive, fail to learn, fail to understand, fail to succeed and fail to care. Why should they? Many white children who could excel with a tiny bit more time and attention are left dangling in what is literally a black hole. The only white children who excel currently are those who are self motivated and have a higher than average IQ. The appalling condition of the education system is damaging white children academically AND forcing whites to interact daily with these hoodlums, by which they learn black behavior and black speech as normal and acceptable, learn black attitude, and in many cases adopt it all themselves. They become totally desensitized to the constant vile that pours out of blacks’ mouths, the violence and never-ending cacophony that accompanies them, and their arrogant, distorted and confrontational view of life. And it’s all contagious.

    Blacks CAN learn; we’ve seen evidence of it. Even though their IQ is lower on average and we don’t expect them to be rocket scientists, they COULD be taught, they could be trained and they could be much less harmful to society than they are. The damage done to blacks is done primarily within the home from their own family (or, actually lack of) environment from birth. It is that period and the disgusting excuses for family that sets the tone for their beliefs and their method of interacting with the rest of the world. To expect the product of the black ghettos to be able to do nothing more than simply ATTEND a full day of school every day without disturbances or trouble is pure fantasy. The danger to whites with NCLB and the disgusting state of the schools is much more damaging than it is to blacks.

  28. on the lam from the Thought Police says:

    The article said nothing about racial differences in meeting the standards. Liberals are going to make it dangerous to mention those differences, unless one somehow blames them on “white racism.”

    Nevertheless, the failure of NCLB further substantiates the assertions made in “Race, Evolution, and Behavior,” by J. Philippe Rushton

    “The Bell Curve,” by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, and similar books, essays, and articles.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Chris Brand (see his banned THE “g” FACTOR now samizdat-accessible free online ), a distinguished UK psychologist-researcher, suggested simply a seamless curriculum along which a student could interface at his level–advanced, or common, of deficient. Building an American public educational system around Brand’s suggestion would, at first glance, be so enormously expensive as to be a mere “thought exercise”—until..until…one reckoned the oceans and oceans of wasted money in trying to “fix” American education over so many decades.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Well, Bon (#26), you do make an important point about “white knowledge” being mostly absent. I should have rephrased my statement there in my #2 post.

    Believe it or not, many older, white teachers still try to teach a traditional “American” vision of knowledge that reaches back into our past. (Older is anyone over about 30 or 35 years of age.)

    The black and brown kids have no interest in ‘dead white guys’ and so the Lefties have developed a two-pronged strategy to enact their utopian, multi-cultural social justice paradise.

    First, they have targeted “real American” white teachers for elimination. That’s why the Left has gone on the offensive against Teachers Unions, which still have mostly over 35 years old white teachers in its ranks.

    All this talk of ‘bad teachers’ is really, “Shaquanda and Pablo are too low IQ to learn ‘American’ knowledge, and they are culturally ‘different,’ so ‘white’ knowledge is meaningless to them. Fire the older white teachers who hold people to standards of excellence, and bring in the young, indoctrinated lefties and lots of ‘minority’ teachers to reconstruct a Brave New World.”

    The Lefties don’t believe that Pablo et al are deficient, even though white and jewish lefties live in their safe, hipster enclaves. They drink their own kool-aid and burn our collective house down with their schemes.

    But even they must face reality sometimes, and they by and large also send their own children to private schools where there are standards, rather than sending them to the MLK Social Justice Academy down the road.

    Their second strategy is to eliminate as much content as possible in all subject areas and replace it with social justice gobbeldy-gook. That’s why, yes, in the textbooks you see so many non-white faces all over the place, even approaching 70%+ of the images, as if whites were only 30% or less of the population. That’s also why English, Social Studies and many electives are now anti-white hate fests. (I know of what I speak.)

    We are on the road to a dim future in 25 years or so.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Does this mean that Obama agrees that nothing can close the intelligence (or IQ) gap?

  32. Anonymous says:

    A very basic way to reform education is to take cognizance that

    in public schools the classrooms are by any reasonable view,

    truly public. Video cameras abundantly positioned in classrooms

    and video tapes of such held accessible online for periods of, say, up to six months–that’s all it would take. When it’s working in a classroom, you know it and you can see and feel it.

    When it’s working for most but not for some, you and see and feel it. If this were suddenly required, schools would just close. Half of the teachers in some attendance centers would simply quit. Those that could survive would soon seek salaries in the range of $100,000 and they’d get it, Don’t hold your breath for this to happen.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Watch for the O administation to let minority schools out of the testing requirements, along with those with heavily-minority staffs. It will also be used as a tool to get schools who refer a certain percentage of minority students to change their ways.

    Just as I have read the health care bill is filled with quotas and waivers for hospitals and med schools dealing with minority patients, along with weapons to be used against majority white ones…this same tactic will be used in education.