No Child Left Behind Waivers

February 9, 2012 by staff 

No Child Left Behind Waivers, President Barack Obama on Thursday will free 10 states from the strict and sweeping requirements of the No Child Left Behind education law in exchange for promises to improve the way schools teach and evaluate students.

The move is a tacit acknowledgement that the law’s main goal, getting all students up to par in reading and math by 2014, is not within reach.

The first 10 states to receive the waivers are Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Tennessee, the White House said. The only state that applied for the flexibility and did not get it, New Mexico, is working with the administration to get approval.

Obama said he was acting because Congress had failed to update the law despite widespread agreement it needs to be fixed.

“If we’re serious about helping our children reach their potential, the best ideas aren’t going to come from Washington alone,” Obama said in a statement, released before the official announcement later Thursday. “Our job is to harness those ideas, and to hold states and schools accountable for making them work.”

A total of 28 other states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have signaled that they, too, plan to seek waivers – a sign of just how vast the law’s burdens have become as the big deadline nears.

No Child Left Behind requires all students to be proficient in reading and math by 2014. Obama’s action strips away that fundamental requirement for those approved for flexibility, provided they offer a viable plan instead. Under the deal, the states must show they will prepare children for college and careers, set new targets for improving achievement among all students, develop meaningful teacher and principal evaluation systems, reward the best performing schools and focus help on the ones doing the worst.

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