5 More States Get Waivers from Education Law Rules

Motoko Rich, New York Times, June 29, 2012

The Obama administration granted waivers to five more states seeking relief from key conditions of the No Child Left Behind education law on Friday. In exchange, the states agreed to enact new standards and evaluate schools and teachers based on students’ academic progress.

State officials and critics of the 2001 federal law have long complained that it was unreasonable and unrealistic in requiring every student to demonstrate proficiency in math and English by 2014.


{snip} Friday’s action by the administration brings to a total of 24 the number of states that have received waivers, and applications from an additional 13 states are under review.

The department’s approval of requests from Arkansas, Missouri, South Dakota, Utah and Virginia on Friday came the week after the federal Education Department declined to approve an application from Iowa, on the grounds that the state had not demonstrated that it would adequately measure teacher performance.


The administration’s waivers emphasized serving students with disabilities, English language learners and students from economically disadvantaged families. Mr. Duncan said that under No Child Left Behind, many of these underperforming students were “literally invisible” because they were not always counted in state reports of academic progress.


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