Senator Lisa Murkowski today responded to the news that the U.S. Department of Education has approved Alaska's waiver request from the one-size-fits-all No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law, a decision that brings new requirements from the federal government:
"I appreciate the Secretary's openness to giving us an alternative to the punitive pessimism of the law, but worry this news amounts to little more than "regulation light' for us to have new boxes to check off. Two years ago, the U.S. Department of Education announced that they would offer waivers from some requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act, but only if states would agree to put specific changes designed by the Education Secretary in place. I remain concerned that the U.S. Department of Education has just swapped the initial rules under the law with new rules that Education Secretary Duncan likes -- here comes the new boss, same as the old boss.
"I give real credit to the staff of the Alaska Department of Education and the many educators and community members who worked long, hard hours to design a waiver plan that would work in Alaska and meet the Secretary's requirement. The successes moving forward truly will be their successes. This plan will increase educational rigor and give credit where credit is due while diagnosing what is wrong with our most troubled schools and put plans to fix them in place. I've been working for years to try and Alaskanize the No Child Left Behind law, but I worry that these waivers are a half measure that replaces one set of federal regulations with another set of federal conditions and requirements."