- Washington consulting group Whiteboard Advisers surveyed education "insiders" and found dim prospects for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, with 20% believing it will never happen.
- The anonymous survey included 50 to 75 "key education influentials, which include current and former U.S. Department of Education leaders, current and former congressional leaders, state school chiefs and governors and leaders of major education organizations and think tanks."
- That's not to say the ESEA is dead: 72% of the respondents said they believe Congress will update the federal law, but not until after December 2015.
Only 6% of respondents believed ESEA would be reauthorized before December 2015. Until its reauthorization, schools are still tied to No Child Left Behind expectations, which have already been deemed unreasonable by the Obama administration. Until reauthorization, states must continue applying for NCLB waivers — so the longer that takes, the longer states and schools must continue jumping through hoops.
So why do these "Insiders" have so little faith in the federal law's update? Here are some of their comments:
"Divided government seems likely to continue through at least 2016, possibly long after."
"We're only six years behind, what's the rush now?"
"Unless a lawsuit or significant problem with ESEA waivers arise, I think reauthorization with get shifted to the next Administration who will be less beholden to the waivers."
"White House has not made this a priority. The Administration could have a win here if they wanted it. They don't."
So why would the Obama Administration not want to push ESEA reauthorization forward? While ESEA is tied to the somewhat archaic NCLB, the waiver incentive (combined with qualifications for Race to the Top funds) has gotten many states to agree to various mandates, such as Common Core adoption.