A waiver from key provisions of the No Child Left Behind law provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform education in South Carolina, said state schools Superintendent Mick Zais.
The U.S. Education Department announced Thursday that it approved waiver applications from South Carolina and five other states, plus the District of Columbia. States granted the waivers are exempt from the law's requirements that all students score proficient on state-standardized math and reading tests by 2014, regardless of race, poverty, disability or ability to speak English.
All told, 32 states have now been granted waivers; four others have outstanding requests.
South Carolina's waiver includes replacing the federal law's all-or-nothing accountability system for schools with one that awards letter grades, from A to F, for performance and gives credit for progress. Zais said that flexibility creates a more understandable rating system.