ED considering district-by-district NCLB waivers

Education Secretary Arne Duncan seems to be softening his opposition to district-level waivers to the No Child Left Behind law. (Albert H. Teich / Shutterstock.com)

Education Secretary Arne Duncan is talking with individual school districts about how to free them from unworkable parts of the federal No Child Left Behind law, signaling he is open to an approach he long tried to avoid.

The Education Department (ED) has given 34 states and the District of Columbia permission to ignore parts of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind law, and eight others have waiver applications pending ahead of next week’s application deadline.

But that still leaves eight states—giants California and Texas among them—operating under the law and set to fall short of its requirements, such as all students being proficient in math and reading by 2014.…Read More

NCLB waivers weaken accountability, study says

Only a few states are fully complying with the federal graduation accountability requirements, the study found.

Many states granted waivers from the No Child Left Behind law are relaxing or ignoring federal regulations designed to hold schools accountable for the number of students who graduate from high school on time, according to a new study released Feb. 12.

When No Child Left Behind was signed into law in 2002, states used so many different ways to calculate graduation rates that it was almost impossible to know how many students in the U.S. finished high school with a regular diploma in four years.

The U.S. Department of Education tried to fix that in 2008 when it established federal requirements for reporting and holding schools accountable for how many students graduate. But now, with 34 states and the District of Columbia granted waivers from No Child Left Behind, some are relaxing or ignoring some of those requirements, potentially allowing low-performing students to fall through the cracks once again.…Read More

Duncan to Senate panel: No more invisible children under No Child Left Behind waivers

Under the Obama administration’s education policies, thousands of elementary and secondary schools are being held accountable for the academic performance of students who had been “invisible” under No Child Left Behind, the Bush-era federal education law, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Thursday, the Washington Post reports. Duncan’s remarks came during a Senate committee hearing about No Child Left Behindwaivers the administration has issued to 34 states and the District of Columbia since 2012. In addition to unleashing “great innovation and creativity” on the part of the participating states, the waivers have pulled in “hundreds of thousands” of students whose standardized test scores hadn’t been counted toward accountability plans for schools, Duncan said…

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No Child Left Behind waivers going to Wash., Wis.

The U.S. Department of Education is announcing that Washington and Wisconsin have won their bid to be relieved of some requirements of the federal “No Child Left Behind” law, the Associated Press reports. The two states are joining 24 other states that have earned waivers from the federal education law. Washington state education officials confirmed their state’s waiver. The Wisconsin waiver was reported by The New York Times. The department’s formal announcement was expected Friday. The 10-year-old federal No Child Left Behind law requires all students to achieve proficient math and reading scores by 2014, a goal that many educators say is impossible…

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5 more states granted NCLB waivers

Five more states have been granted relief from key requirements of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind law, bringing the total to 24 states given waivers, an Obama administration official said Friday, the Associated Press. Arkansas, Missouri, South Dakota, Utah and Virginia will be freed from the No Child Left Behind requirement that all students test proficient in math and science by 2014, a goal the nation remains far from achieving. In exchange, the states and all others granted waivers must develop accountability plans that set new targets for raising achievement, advancing teacher effectiveness, preparing all students for careers and college, and improving the performance of low-performing schools.

“We all understand that the best ideas don’t come from Washington, and moving forward, these states will have increased flexibility with federal funds and relief from NCLB’s mandates, allowing them to develop locally-tailored solutions to meet their unique educational challenges,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in draft remarks released to The Associated Press…

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Official: 10 states get NCLB waivers

Some conservatives view Obama's plan not as giving more flexibility to states, but as imposing his vision on them.

President Barack Obama on Feb. 9 will free 10 states from the strict and sweeping requirements of the No Child Left Behind law, giving leeway to states that promise to improve how they prepare and evaluate students, The Associated Press has learned.

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

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the states had not yet been announced. 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 a big deadline nears.…Read More

ED: States applying for NCLB waivers should do more to reach students

In their applications for waivers from NCLB rules, states didn't do enough to ensure that schools would be held accountable for the performance of all students, ED says.

In its initial review of No Child Left Behind waiver requests, the U.S. Education Department (ED) highlighted a similar weakness in nearly every application: States did not do enough to ensure schools would be held accountable for the performance of all students.

The Obama administration praised the states for their high academic standards. But nearly every application was criticized for being loose about setting high goals and, when necessary, interventions for all student groups—including minorities, the disabled, and low-income students—or for failing to create sufficient incentives to close the achievement gap.

Under No Child Left Behind, schools where even one group of students falls behind are considered out of compliance and subject to interventions. The law has been championed for helping shed light on education inequalities, but most now agree it is due for change.…Read More

11 states seek relief from NCLB

The U.S. Department of Education announced Tuesday that 11 states have formally submitted requests for waivers from key provisions of No Child Left Behind, the Huffington Post reports. 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.”

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Costs of No Child Left Behind waivers “jaw dropping”

An ambivalent State Board of Education discussed but took no action Wednesday on pursuing a temporary waiver from strictures of the No Child Left Behind law, TopEd.org reports. The state will pass up the two application deadlines as a result. California could still apply in June for a two-year relief from the law. Los Angeles Unified is among the districts favoring a waiver, and several Board members indicated interest as well–if the state can negotiate terms more to its liking. However, the Obama administration has given no public indication yet that it’s willing to bend on its terms…

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