New round of states, DC, win NCLB waivers

The Obama administration has approved seven more requests for waivers from No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The approved states include Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Oregon and South Carolina, as well as the District of Columbia. States receiving waivers were required to develop plans to prepare all students for college and career, focus aid on the neediest students, and support effective teaching and leadership.

Thursday’s announcement brings to 32 the number of states receiving NCLB waivers. They include: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

Five other states are still waiting on word whether their NCLB waiver applications will be approved. They are California, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, and Nevada. States have until Sept. 6 to apply for the next round of waivers.

“More and more states can’t wait any longer for education reform” said U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan in a news release. “A strong, bipartisan reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act remains the best path forward in education reform, but as these states have demonstrated, our kids can’t wait any longer for Congress to act.”

Kansas Education Commissioner Dr. Diane DeBacker said in a statement. “An accountability system based on student growth and multiple measures is a key component of our waiver and I believe it will result in a far more meaningful assessment of the progress and success of Kansas schools.”

In a press release Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber responded to his state's waiver, “This approval is a victory for our state, our schools, and most importantly our children.” He added, “We have rejected the one-size-fits-all mandates of past federal requirements and come together to create a home-grown system of accountability ... of greater educational success for all Oregonians.”