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Setting the Record Straight on NCLB Waiver

Statement from CEA Executive Director Mary Loftus Levine

In the wake of news reports that the U.S. Department of Education is aware of the legislative debate underway in Connecticut and is monitoring the developments relative to approving Connecticut’s waiver application, CEA Executive Director Mary Loftus Levine today issued comment.

She emphasized that the U.S. Department of Education required compliance with collective bargaining laws and respect for teachers’ voices in effective school reform in its guidelines prepared for states seeking waivers from the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) act.

The federal guidelines can be found at www.ed.gov/esea/flexibility. They say, “Nothing in these principles shall be construed to alter or otherwise affect the rights, remedies, and procedures afforded school or school district employees under Federal, State, or local laws (including applicable regulations or court orders) or under the terms of collective bargaining agreements, memoranda of understanding, or other agreements between such employees and their employers.”

Loftus Levine said, “This clear direction from Washington is just one more reason why the governor’s original education bill is a dangerous experiment. By running roughshod over teachers’ collective bargaining rights, it is clear today that the governor’s proposal would jeopardize our waiver application.”

Loftus Levine continued, “In sharp contrast, Substitute SB 24 provides a better path consistent with priorities being established in Washington. We simply have to get reform done right in Connecticut.”

Loftus Levine is a member of the state Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC). State Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor urged the council to approve a teacher evaluation framework (even though guidelines and the total evaluation system have yet to be developed) to enable Connecticut to qualify for a waiver. When the State Board of Education approved the framework, the commissioner expressed optimism that it was consistent with requirements promulgated in Washington.

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