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Reform Group Splits over Federal Waiver for LAUSD

Hillel Aron | May 3, 2013

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Gloria Romero

Earlier this week, a number of civil rights and school reform groups including Democrats for Education Reform (or DFER) sent a letter to United States Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan opposing the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) waiver that LAUSD and eight other California school districts had applied for.

But the next day, Gloria Romero, head of the California chapter of DFER, sent her own letter to Secretary Duncan in support of the LAUSD waiver request.

So what happened?

According to an initial account in Education Week, Romero described the dueling letters as the unintentional result of miscommunication between the state and national divisions.

Commenting on the waiver issue at EdSource, Romero wrote that the national letter “reflected the DC branch and was, unfortunately, submitted without input from the CA DFER office which has long supported the CORE waiver request.”

“I understand the national [DFER organization] is looking at this and saying, let’s be consistent federally,” Romero told LA School Report. “But I think, locked in the bowels of Washington DC, they weren’t privy to the real issues on the street. They didn’t understand — these are the reformers.”

“The CORE group came together to overcome the political obstacles at the state level,” said Romero.  “We need to reward the guys willing to reform by any means necessary.”

“It probably is unusual, but I felt strongly that this was a state issue,” she said — adding later, perhaps a bit jokingly: “I might be out of the job tomorrow. Who knows?”

Previous posts: Civil Rights Groups Oppose LAUSD Waiver;  New Concerns About LAUSD “Waiver”District Waivers Worry State Education Chiefs

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