No Child Left Behind Waivers: 11 States Seek Relief From Federal Education Law

Marion Herbert's picture
Monday, November 21, 2011

The U.S. Department of Education announced that 11 states have formally submitted requests for waivers from key provisions of No Child Left Behind.

Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Tennessee have submitted to the Education Department curriculums and plans catered to their localities in exchange for flexibility from federal education mandates.

The submissions come after President Barack Obama's September announcement that the administration would offer a "flexibility package" to states if they demonstrate a true commitment to reform, unleashing "energy to improve our schools at the local level." More states are expected to apply in later rounds -- through next spring -- but some like California may be shying away from the option because of the high costs associated with the waivers.

Drafted reform efforts must map out plans to implement college- and career-ready standards, develop accountability systems that assist low-performing schools and schools with persistent achievement gaps, and create improved systems for developing, supporting and evaluating educators.

No Child Left Behind mandates regular standardized testing and aims to achieve math and reading proficiency among all students by 2014 -- but an increasing number of schools have been labeled as "failing" under the law, in part resulting from the reporting method's emphasis on raw scores versus change in scores over time.

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