WHEREAS, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965 was a path-breaking law that committed our nation to achieving equal access to education for all children; and
WHEREAS, the ESEA has been reauthorized seven times, most recently in 2001 by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB); and
WHEREAS, NCLB set high education standards, increased school accountability, and focused greater attention on student achievement gaps; and
WHEREAS, despite the fact that the ESEA, prior to NCLB, had typically been reauthorized about every five years, NCLB has not been reauthorized in over a decade; and
WHEREAS, many NCLB requirements have led to unexpected challenges in implementing reform, and Congress has not acted to fix those issues since NCLB’s enactment in 2001; and
WHEREAS, the Department of Education has recognized the need to provide flexibility to states from certain restrictive provisions under NCLB in exchange for their commitment to implement reforms to close achievement gaps, promote rigorous accountability, and ensure that all students are on track to graduate college- and career-ready; and
WHEREAS, the Department of Education has thus far granted waivers for eleven states from NCLB’s requirements and is in the process of reviewing the applications of twenty six other states; and
WHEREAS, some states have indicated that they will not seek NCLB flexibility or may not be granted waivers by the Department of Education, which could result in thousands of school districts in those states not being afforded the same flexibility to improve schools as districts around the country; and
WHEREAS, school districts all over the country are ready and willing to meet the requirements of the NCLB waivers and implement flexibilities to improve student outcomes; and
WHEREAS, the Department of Education has demonstrated a strong commitment to supporting school districts as they move forward in implementing groundbreaking reforms at the local level to strengthen their schools systems and improve student performance.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors urges the Department of Education to offer school districts in states that do not apply for or are not granted state waivers the same opportunity for flexibility from NCLB provisions so that they can most effectively close achievement gaps, promote accountability, and ensure that all students are on track to graduate college- and career-ready.