|  November 21, 2014  |  
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Begich Calls On Governor to Seek No Child Left Behind Waiver

Alaska Education Groups Also Push for NCLB Relief

Seeking flexibility for Alaska’s school boards, teachers and students to create positive learning environments that reflect the diversity found in Alaska’s classrooms, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich is urging Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell to apply for a federal waiver to the broken and burdensome No Child Left Behind law (NCLB).

In a letter to the Governor, Begich reiterates a request made six months ago to Parnell. Acquiring a waiver would provide Alaska’s schools increased flexibility with their budgeting and prevent them from being labeled as “failing” when student achievement is on the rise.

In the letter, Begich offers the State any possible assistance in making the case for a waiver to the Obama Administration. Begich writes:

“I am willing to assist you in explaining to the Obama Administration the unique challenges Alaska’s schools face, and why unique solutions will be required to deliver a quality education to our students. For instance, labeling schools as failures for not meeting every NCLB benchmark when students are indeed making progress is not fair. Federal waivers will allow important flexibility and recognize growth.”

The call for a NCLB waiver is also supported by Alaska’s educators and administrators who have echoed Sen. Begich’s request:

“NEA-Alaska supports improving student success in our schools. We have long recognized that provisions in the current version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA –currently titled No Child Left Behind) do not work in many of our communities. The granting of a waiver will give relief from stringent requirements that are unrealistic while we await an overhaul of the current law. We support and encourage the State of Alaska to apply for a waiver.” ~Barb Angaiak, President NEA-Alaska

“NCLB has helped schools address all students’ needs and we are seeing improvement. But the 2014 deadline for 100 percent proficiency is a bureaucratic train wreck that will needlessly stigmatize good schools and students. AASB encourages the State of Alaska to apply for a waiver so we can keep our attention on improving schools, raising standards and accountability.” ~Carl Rose, Executive Director of the Association of Alaska School Boards.

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