“As the Vermont Department of Education has continued to negotiate for the flexibility that was promised since we started in August, it has become clear that the U.S. Education Department is interested in simply replacing one punitive, prescriptive model of accountability with another,” - Spokesman, Vermont Department of Education
As U.S. Secretary of Education prepared to come to Connecticut to announce that he had granted Governor Dannel Malloy’s request for a federal waiver on the No Child Left Behind Law, the Brattleboro Reformer newspaper’s headline read; Vermont Drops Request for No Child.
Vermont’s State Board of Education was one of the 37 states to request a waiver but later voted to withdraw its application when it became clear that the state would not be allowed to develop its own “measurements for progress and teacher qualifications.”
Stephan Morse, Vermont’s Board of Education Chairman, said that they decided to drop the waiver request because “there was no room to do much of anything under the waiver. All of the requirements of No Child Left Behind remained in place.”
The Brattleboro Reformer newspaper reported that Vermont state officials had engaged in “a series of time-consuming negotiations as it attempted to create its own system of measurement and accountability that relied less on standardized tests and punitive actions against teachers, administrators and schools.”
However, according to the reports, “it became more and more apparent that the U’S Department of Education would not be willing to budge on many of Vermont’s requests, and so when the latest letter arrived in Montpelier asking for more details the State Board of Education decided to cut its losses and move on.”
So yesterday, as Vermont’s children, parents, teachers and school administrators breathed a big sigh of relief that Vermont was not going to jump from the “standardized testing frying pan into the standardized testing fire,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan flew to Connecticut so that he and Governor Malloy could announce that Connecticut would go where Vermont was smart enough not to go.
The CT Mirror reported the news that it was “A federal boost for Connecticut’s education reforms,” CT Newsjunkie led with Malloy’s quote at the press conference, Gov. to Feds: ‘It’s About Time’ and the Hartford Courant went with U.S. Education Secretary Grants Connecticut’s ‘No Child’ Waiver Request’ (click on headlines to read their stories).
Perhaps the Courant summed it up best when they wrote;
“With Gov. Dannel P. Malloy beaming at his side, Duncan said that Connecticut was one of eight states granted waivers Tuesday.
If Connecticut lawmakers hadn’t passed a substantial package of education reforms earlier this month, Duncan said, “I don’t think I would have been here.”
Among the others who attended the press conference to join in the victory dance and get in the “photo op” where a number of Connecticut legislators, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal and Congress members Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Joe Courtney and Chris Murphy. Bridgeport’s part-time, acting superintendent of schools Paul Vallas was also among the VIPs on stage with Malloy. (Duncan is Vallas’ protégée and took over the ongoing effort to privatize Chicago School System when Vallas left to go on to do his damage to Philadelphia public schools.)
Apparently the cadre of elected officials did not mention Vermont’s decision to put its children first nor the CT Voices for Children study that warned about the negative consequences of receiving a waiver.
See yesterday’s Wait, What, Test them, test them and then…test them again: The Federal Waiver is NOT the solution. or the CT Voices report at http://www.ctvoices.org/publications/understanding-connecticuts-application-waiver-no-child-left-behind-act