The Wyoming Department of Education has asked its federal counterpart to freeze language arts and math standards established by the No Child Left Behind education law at 2011 levels rather than allow them to increase to 2012 levels for the state.
State officials are seeking the waiver from the U.S. Department of Education in order to focus on a statewide system of educational accountability mandated by state statute.
To allay unintended consequences of the No Child Left Behind Act -- formally known as Elementary and Secondary Education Act -- the federal department offers a flexibility waiver to acknowledge the innovations and efforts that have come about since No Child Left Behind went into effect a decade ago. An unintended consequence of the law is that it could potentially hinder state and local efforts aimed at increasing the quality of instruction and improving student academic achievement, according to a document on the federal DOE website.
The flexibility waiver the federal department offers includes relief from some of the consequences of not achieving annual yearly progress. The waiver also frees states from following procedures for setting their annual measurable objectives that determine AYP and instead allows them to develop new "ambitious yet achievable" standards in language arts and math.
The U.S. Department of Education uses the annual measurable objectives to hold schools, districts, and states accountable for student performance under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Annual measurable objectives are measured here by the Proficiency Assessments for Wyoming Students test, or PAWS.