SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — San Francisco and Oakland are among 10 school districts in the California Office to Reform Education (CORE) requesting exemption from the federal No Child Left Behind Act after a statewide waiver has been denied.
Other states have opted out of the federal act that has been criticized for its mandatory tests that have been described as rigorous. But it appears California is late to the game in being granted the exemption.
In San Francisco Wednesday, U.S. Education Secretary Arnie Duncan continued his tour of Bay Area schools and non-profit agencies.
Duncan said CORE districts represent over a million children, more than many other states his office works with.
“Whether it’s working with CORE, whether it’s working with the state as a whole, we’re open on either front. Our first preference is to work with states, but we’re going to look at the CORE application very seriously,” Duncan said.
But a coalition of eight civil rights groups recently sent Duncan a letter against approving the waiver and said giving districts that kind of flexibility would create two separate standards in the state.
Katie Haycock is with Education Trust, one of the groups that signed the letter.
“When you let districts do their own reporting, their own goal setting, their own storytelling, parents are deprived of honest information on how well their schools are doing,” she explained.
The Education Department has approved 34 state waivers from No Child Left Behind in the past year.
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