Alabama Remains Undecided on No Child Left Behind Waivers

Marion Herbert's picture
Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Alabama education officials are still grappling with the decision of whether to apply for a waiver to the No Child Left Behind law.

President Barack Obama announced on Sept. 23 that states may apply for and receive waivers for parts of the law if they qualify, but they must also agree to follow his administration’s school improvement agenda.

One provision Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said can be waived for qualifying states is the law’s 2014 deadline for all students to achieve proficiency in reading and math.

Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, said financial concerns are delaying a decision in Alabama. The State Board of Education will make the final decision.

“There are some costs involved if you get the waiver,” Ward said. “However, I think at some point it’s going to be prudent for us to ask for a waiver. We’re not going to meet the score requirements the federal government has imposed upon us.”

Ward said the reason many states are seeking waivers is because of flawed scoring methods the NCLB law mandated in schools.

The downside is that many schools are already strapped with financial burdens, and NCLB waivers would only add more debt.

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