Washington state Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn must feel as if he is having a bad dream and can’t seem to wake up.
On Monday, Dorn learned the U.S. Department of Education denied his request to reinstate the state’s waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind Act was denied. A total of 43 states had waivers (proof the law is ridiculous) but Washington lost its waiver because the state Legislature would not agree to a federal mandate regarding teacher evaluations.
Unfortunately, it is not just Dorn caught in this nightmare that started with approval of the No Child Left Behind Act in Congress.
Vowing to “leave no child behind” should have been seen as political hyperbole. Few expected lawmakers to seriously propose and implement an education system in which 100 percent of students at every school meet the established standards.
Everybody learns at different rates and at different levels. Implementing an absolute such as every student must pass the standardized testing is beyond unreasonable, it’s ludicrous.
Yet, those elected to the U.S. Congress did make the political hyperbole law. And now schools in Washington state — including those in this Valley — are going to have to pay a high price (with money provided by taxpayers).
Nearly every school in the state is now required to send letters to parents of every child letting them know the school their child attends is failing because 100 percent of students did not pass state reading and math tests.
Adding to the pain is the fact that local school districts have lost control over how their part of the $40 million in federal funding to help disadvantaged students is spent.
This has to end — and not just in Washington state.
The federal government has no constitutional role in overseeing education. It is strictly a state and local concern. Local school officials know their communities and know where the money can be spent most effectively.