Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) today released the following statement on the U.S. Department of Education's announcement that it will grant the state of Kansas a waiver from the requirements of No Child Left Behind (NCLB):
"Today, Kansas obtained some much needed freedom from the burdensome requirements of No Child Left Behind," Sen. Moran said. "I commend our state's education officials for their hard work and determination in negotiating with the U.S. Department of Education to obtain this necessary flexibility for our schools. I opposed passage of NCLB in 2001 because a "one-size-fits-all' federally-mandated approach to education is not in the best interest of Kansas students, parents, educators and schools.
"While our state obtained some relief today, I remain concerned by the Department's process of dangling relief from federal mandates in front of states in exchange for agreeing to adopt Administration policies," Sen. Moran continued. "This undue pressure could lead to an administrative rewrite of the statute that is even further top-down mandated than current law. I continue to urge the President and Congress to make the full overhaul of NCLB a priority. Kansas schools have no problem being held accountable; they simply ask that the federal government afford them sufficient flexibility to tailor education plans to the unique needs of their students."
Sen. Moran believes the overhaul of NCLB should be a priority for Congress, but neither chamber currently plans floor debate on reauthorization measures. The Senate bill, which the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee approved in October 2011, still has not been officially reported out of committee despite having bipartisan backing. The House of Representatives' Education and Workforce Committee also approved two smaller bills in March 2011.
In the meantime, President Obama announced that he would offer states waivers from certain NCLB mandates in exchange for agreeing to adopt the Administration's policy changes. The Kansas State Board of Education first submitted Kansas' NCLB waiver request last February and has been working with officials from the U.S. Department of Education to obtain this flexibility from federal requirements.