In more in the long line of stuff Arne says comes this interview with Education Week. But, NCLB waivers ARE brought up and, in specific, Washington State. But Duncan is both direct and coy.
And he pledged to get one long-awaited initiative done that could also have a far-reaching impact: an overhaul of regulations that govern teacher-preparation programs. "They will get done," he said. "[They are] very important."
So that was the direct message and the one that the Washington legislature chose to ignore.
It's the teacher-evaluation piece of those waivers—tying evaluations
to student test scores—that is tripping up a lot of states, and may cost
at least one (Washington state) its waiver.
"We've tried to provide some real flexibility," Mr. Duncan said.
"I'm interested in finishing at the right point. The path to get there
is going to be very different. Some states are two or three years ahead
of others, and are in great shape. Some are in the middle and some are
"We've been pretty agnostic on these things," he said, "and tried
to give people the flexibility to figure out what the right answer is in
their local context. There's no right or wrong answer."
Agnostic? Okay but also when you carry a big stick and wave it around, that's not exactly clean hands.
On Washington State:
Mr. Duncan was asked whether Washington state, which is in hot water because its timelines do not match those set by the department, can save its waiver.
"Washington state made some commitments," Mr. Duncan said. "In any
agreement, you agree to things on both sides in good faith. ... When we
both make an agreement together we both have to live up to our
Despite having had a phone call with Washington state officials on
its waiver just days before the interview, Mr. Duncan said he didn't
know the specifics about their waiver predicament.
But he also said: "It takes a little bit more time to get it
right; we're finding that. If you're headed in the right direction,
that's something we absolutely want to have the conversation about. If
the state decides they don't want to do something, that's different."
So there's these phone calls back and forth and still no answer? I'm being to think that Duncan is quite worried about backlash if suddenly Washington state (and possibly others) have 95% of their schools declared "failing." No one will buy that and NCLB will look more toothless than it already does.