On February 7, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. in 216 Hart Senate Office Building the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) will take a close look at implementation of the Department’s Conditional Waivers under the No Child Left Behind Act, with a view toward discerning any lessons learned thus far.  Witnesses include Secretary of Education Arne Duncan followed by the Kentucky and New York State Commissioners of Education, after which representatives of Bellwether Education Partners and The Education Trust will present testimony.  

Interestingly, earlier this week the National Governors Association, National Conference of State Legislatures, National School Boards Association and others wrote the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Senate HELP Committee and the House Ed and Workforce Committee raising concerns about how the waivers “require new criteria of states, school districts and schools not formally authorized in NCLB or by Congress.”  Though raised in the broader context of reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, questions about the legal authority for the “new criteria . . . not formally authorized . . . by Congress” should be aired earlier in the process, rather than later.