Five more states awarded NCLB waivers

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced on Friday that five additional states - Arkansas, Missouri, South Dakota, Utah, and Virginia - will receive flexibility from the accountability mandates of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, better known as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).  

In exchange for this new flexibility, the states have agreed to raise academic standards, improve accountability, and undertake essential reforms to boost teacher effectiveness.  This announcement brings the number of states with waivers to 24.  Thirteen other applications are still under review.  

"These states have joined in a nationwide movement toward state-led education reform now embraced by 24 states," Duncan said in a statement. "Their plans are the product of bold, forward-thinking state and local leaders who have moved beyond the tired old battles and partisan bickering to roll up their sleeves and start working together." 

Arkansas Education Commissioner Tom Kimbrell responded in a news release, “This flexibility allows Arkansas to evaluate schools in terms of performance, growth and graduation rate. We are not turning our back on accountability. With our new system of accountability, support and intervention, we will focus on specific problems unique to each public school in Arkansas.”