by Cindy Long
The Obama administration approved eight additional states for flexibility from key provisions of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) yesterday, bringing the total number of states with waivers to 19. Eighteen other states and Washington, D.C. also applied for waivers and their applications are still under review.
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced waivers for Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Rhode Island, which were granted in exchange for state-developed plans to prepare all students for college and career, focus aid on the neediest students, and support effective teaching and leadership.
One of the provisions that No Child Left Behind requires is that all students be proficient in reading and math by 2014. Reading and math proficiency is a goal all educators are determined to help students reach, but the current form of the law doesn’t allow them to get there. The waivers allow states to scrap the 2014 proficiency requirement if they can provide a viable alternative plan.
“These eight additional states are getting more flexibility with federal funds and relief from NCLB’s one-size-fits-all federal mandates in order to develop locally-tailored solutions to meet their unique educational challenges,” Duncan said.
Duncan pointed out that many of the new state-created accountability systems capture more students at risk, including low-income students, students with disabilities, and English learners, adding, “States must show they are protecting children in order to get flexibility. These states met that bar.”