Something just feels wrong about this approach. It seems like it's destined to raise at least a few eyebrows among Congressional Republicans and might end up stymieing the Obama Administration during an election year. Strategically, it's a big risk. On one hand, something must be done to nix the ridiculous 2014 proficiency deadline. On the other, forcing states to implement largely untested reforms in exchange for coveted waivers might tempt a protracted court battle at a very bad time in the political cycle.
Is it legal? We don't know. Is it going to be fair to students and teachers? Probably not. Were these reform policies forged democratically and informed by the low-income communities of color they most directly affect? Not by a long shot.
There. It's got all the makings of a bad idea.