One result (or lack thereof) of the deadlock in Congress is a failure to reauthorize the federal No Child Left behind act. Because of the legislature's inaction, President Obama has announced that states may apply for waivers of the act so long as they "agree to adopt a prescribed set of education reforms," according to this Education Week blog post by Michele McNeil.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced last June that the administration would proceed with a waiver plan if Congress fails to reauthorize NCLB by the start of school.
Duncan said waivers would be offered as long as states meet other requirements, which will not be spelled out fully until next month. Areas likely to be considered in waiving the 2014 proficiency deadline are: raising standards for achievement, new strategies to help low-performing schools, and implementing educator evaluation systems that are tied to test scores.
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten had a cautious response to Duncan's announcement.
"We understand and feel the frustration with No Child Left Behind, and we support changing it in a comprehensive way to better assist teachers and students," Weingarten said. "Time will tell whether moving to a waiver plan that bypasses the full legislative (and public comment) process is the right approach."
"Waivers, if issued, should be informed by what works to improve teaching and learning," she continued. "We will continue to encourage Congress to get the education law right to ensure that students in this country have a fair, equitable, high-quality public education system."