Parents: As you all are making decisions of where to send your children this next school year, and the year after that, and so on … research and learn the facts for yourself. Yes, there is a lot going on in education. No, there are no perfect schools, or districts, or teachers for that matter. Just like there aren’t any perfect children or just people period. Use your resources. Talk to your educator friends – not the bitter and miserable ones who don’t see the hope in ANYthing. Watch them closely. Their LIVES are miserable. Talk to those who recognize the need and own UP to the challenges. Those who are working withIN the system to change it for the better (Freddie Brooks, A Different World, 1993). Attend town hall meetings. Attend PARENT meetings. VOTE. Make your requests and concerns known. There are a lot of laws that are federal in nature that your state and city/county have no control over. The same at the state level that the districts/cities/counties have no control over.

Of course, we will all do what is best for our children. Be sure it is because it is best for the CHILD and not because you don’t like one rule, one teacher, two kids in another class, the lunch menu on Thursdays, etc. There is SO much that happens behind the scenes that all stakeholders have the right to know, but, just doesn’t for whatever reason. It’s public domain … it really is. You’d be surprised the JEWELS in a lot of the schools in your city, but, because of hearsay or stereotypes, you’ll never know that that one teacher (jewel) or principal (another jewel) had the background, skills, fortitude, compassion, and just that right connection needed to reach YOUR child.

This comes from a personal and professional place. I’m not sure why I went here. LOL. I just started typing. I love both of my children’s schools and I’ve had [minimal] challenges with both. But they both work best for my two. I work what I know and have to make sure they get what they need to be successful – challenges and all. Challenges are normal and are signs of growth and/or change and development. WE make the rest happen.

Love, Lucy – A Teacher Mommy

View TN Official Waiver Letter to Commissioner Huffman Here – 02/09/12

Ten states got the green light Thursday to pursue school reforms without being tethered to the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind law. At least 28 more are expected to seek similar approval by the end of the month.

  • President Obama heads to the stage with Education Secretary Arne Duncan, left, to speak about flexibility for states in the No Child Left Behind law at the White House Thursday.By Susan Walsh, APPresident Obama heads to the stage with Education Secretary Arne Duncan, left, to speak about flexibility for states in the No Child Left Behind law at the White House Thursday.
By Susan Walsh, AP

President Obama heads to the stage with Education Secretary Arne Duncan, left, to speak about flexibility for states in the No Child Left Behind law at the White House Thursday.

No Child Left Behind, signed into law in 2002 byPresident George W. Bush, was meant to improve fundamental skills of students. Under the law, schools that failed to meet requirements face increasingly tough consequences, including busing children to higher-performing schools, offering tutoring and replacing staff.

President Obama said Thursday the law is too punitive and driving the wrong behaviors. “If we’re serious about helping our children reach their potential, the best ideas aren’t going to come from Washington alone,” Obama said.

Seven of the states — Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey and Tennessee — are waived from a deadline requiring that all students be proficient in reading and math by 2014. Three — Florida, Georgia and Oklahoma — received provisional waivers pending approval of the proposals by state authorities. New Mexico applied and was not approved but is expected also to be waived, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said.

To qualify, states must show they will prepare kids for colleges and careers, set new targets for improving achievement among all students, reward high-performing schools and help struggling schools.

Supporters say the greater flexibility for states honors the spirit of No Child Left Behind. “This is really not backing away from anything. These are going to be much more rigorous standards,” says Gene Wilhoit, executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, which represents state superintendents of education.

Amy Wilkins, of The Education Trust, which advocates for low-income and minority students, urged Duncan to hold schools accountable.

“The question is, did kids win?” she says. “We won’t know that until we see how it plays out in classrooms across the country.”

Contributing: Associated Press