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HJR 39 Calls on state to opt-out of federal No Child Left Behind

The federal program has never worked for Alaska. It’s time we set our own standards”

JUNEAU – Today, Rep. Bob Miller and three other Democrats in the Alaska House of Representatives introduced a resolution (HJR 39) calling on the state of Alaska to opt-out of the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) program and to develop its own Alaska-appropriate education standards.

“No Child Left Behind was a federal mandate that never worked for Alaska,” said Rep. Miller. “It’s time we develop our own Alaska-appropriate standards and get out from under this federal program that set too many of our schools up to fail.”

In order to opt out of NCLB, a state must develop its own standards that incorporate rigorous college and career standards, focus on fixing the worst performing schools and those with the biggest achievement gaps, and adopt teacher and administrator evaluations based partly on test scores.

“No bar in the opt-out process is too high,” said Miller, “and going through the opt-out process gives Alaskans the chance to set our own goals for our children’s education.”

As stated in the resolution, “developing an improved, Alaska-specific educational plan to meet the requirements of the waiver request will allow Alaska to develop rigorous but relevant state standards.”

In the first round of submissions, eleven states applied for NCLB waivers, and 28 additional states have already filed intent to apply in the second round.

The resolution calls on the governor to “direct the Department of Education and Early Development to develop Alaska-appropriate educational standards that will serve to improve the quality of education in Alaska and that will qualify the state to opt-out of NCLB” and to “pursue a waiver to the NCLB Act by the September 6, 2012 deadline established by the United States Department of Education.”

Representatives Gardner, Kawasaki and Gara are co-sponsoring the resolution. HJR 39 was referred to the Education committee.

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