Coalition member Lori Jabloski gives us some of the details of the CORE waiver that Sacramento City Unified is a part of with a consortium of districts who applied to the US Dept. of Ed for relief from the requirements of NoChildLeftBehind. This is an unprecented set of policies that would end the local control of our school district. The waiver would take SCUSD out of the state of California accountability system and put it in control of an unelected board that would meet only twice a year. This has happened virtually without public discussion. Please read the entire article, then take action. Contact the SCUSD board and the state Supterintendent of Public Instruction. Tell them you didn't vote for the waiver, in fact no one did. Who is accountable for this?
Few would argue that we need relief from the test-driven reform failure that is No Child Left Behind; unfortunately, the remedy that President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan have provided states and school districts through the Race to the Top waiver would prove even more harmful to the future of public schools, the teaching profession, and the education of our children. That’s why the state of California has refused to adopt specific policies that federal education officials consider necessary to win a waiver from No Child Left Behind sanctions. Among these is the mandated adoption of test-based teacher accountability measures.
In August, the Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD), as part of a consortium of seven other large California school districts working under the umbrella of a private consulting firm known as CORE (California Office to Reform Education), was granted a one-year NCLB waiver by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan by deliberately circumventing the state of California and embracing top-down, undemocratic policies that the Governor and state officials rejected. Even worse, the CORE Waiver would result in the creation of a parallel school governance authority, impacting millions of California children, unaccountable to parents, community stakeholders and the voters.
CORE itself is an interesting entity with important linkages to local Sacramento-area political figures. CORE’s executive director is Rick Miller, who is business partners with Sacramento City Councilmember Jay Schenirir and West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon in Capitol Impact, LLC, a consulting firm focusing on public education issues.
Miller wears many hats in his education policy work with Capitol Impact. He is senior partner for California Education Partners, the program director for the California Education Policy Fund, and executive direct of The Alliance for Regional Collaboration to Heighten Educational Success (ARCHES). He serves on the Board of Directors for Parent Revolution, the “Parent Trigger” folks.
CORE also has its own communication director, Hilary McLean, who also happens to be communication director for Capitol Impact, LLC. 
Funding for all CORE activities and CORE staff will be borne by the member districts, through their respective general funds.
Specifically, the so-called CORE Waiver, which was developed without the participation of the California Teachers Association, the local unions of the each of the eight CORE Waiver districts, or parent and community stakeholders, will:
The CORE Waiver will commit districts to what is essentially an expansion of the Priority School turnaround model former Superintendent Jonathan Raymond instituted in SCUSD, including the replacement ofprincipals “in a timely manner” atpriority and focus schools; the transfer of “effective” teachers to priority and focus schools; hiring and retention policies for teachers that ignore seniority and tenure and give principals increased latitude to remove “ineffective” teachers; hiring non-teaching instructional coaches; instituting data-driven teaching based on yet-to-be-developed regular common assessments across disciplines and grade-levels; and participation in business-model turn-around approaches.
Priority and focus schools that fail to make adequate progress (over 2-4 years, depending on their designation) would be required to engage in more drastic interventions including closure or conversion to charter. 
A preliminary table of specific schools and their rankings in CORE Waiver districts reveals that J.F. Kennedy, Rosemont and C.K. McClatchy High Schools in SCUSD would be designated focus schools, the most punitive of the three CORE categories. These three neighborhood comprehensive high schools, which together serve well over 5000 students, face the possible closure or conversion to charters if 2-4 years turnaround goals are not met. 
Please note that the CORE Waiver from NCLB brings no new money into the school district. Rather it only gives “flexibility” to CORE Waiver districts in spending a portion of their federal Title 1 monies. More troubling, especially as the state moves to implement the new Local Control Funding Formula, the CORE Waiver requires districts to contribute their own general fund monies to cover the costs of vendors and all CORE waiver-related activities, including travel and release time costs for the pairing of high-performing school staff with priority and focus school staff and all costs associated with developing new common assessments and teacher/principal evaluation systems (although not discussed here, we can assume this also includes all associated staffing costs for CORE itself). 
The CORE application also commits districts to use the so-called “freed up” Title 1 funds that previously were intended for NCLB sanctions for specific school interventions as required by the Waiver. Among these expenses could be costs associated with support of reward school and priority/focus partnering (noted as optional). However, as noted above, districts would be committed (not optional) to the travel and release time for staff involved in the school partnering. (A general note: the writing about CORE district funding requirements is alarmingly confusing).
According to documents submitted to the federal Department of Education in the waiver application, the only discussion about the CORE Waiver by elected members of the SCUSD board and then-Superintendent Jonathan Raymond took place in closed session last February. Despite the serious and unprecedented implications for local decision-making, accountability and democratic governance of our schools and school programs, the SCUSD elected board of trustees allowed Superintendent Raymond to commit the district to the CORE Waiver without board public discussion of any kind. In fact, the SCUSD documents in the waiver application point to a website posting and one article in the Sacramento Bee as the sum total of general public discussion on the waiver.
 The eight districts comprising the CORE consortium are Sacramento City Unified; San Francisco Unified; Oakland Unified; Fresno Unified; Sanger Unified; Los Angeles Unified; Long Beach Unified; Santa Ana Unified. Together, the student population of the CORE districts represent 17% of all students in CA
(CORE ESEA Waiver Request* 23).
 Core Waiver Request 188-196
 Ibid. 72-105
 Ibid. 91-96
 Ibid. 118-130
 Ibid. 132, 141
 Ibid. 149-150
 Ibid. 167
 Ibid. 167
 Ibid. 177-178, 181, 192
 Ibid. 36
 Ibid. 160
 Ibid. 159
 Ibid 324-325; 343-346
*California Office to Reform Education
Local Educational Agencies’ Request for Waivers under Section 9401 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. August 5, 2013. U.S. Department of Education, Washington DC.