President Obama announced yesterday that ten states have agreed to implement bold education reforms and will receive flexibility from No Child Left Behind.
These ten states will now have the flexibility needed to raise student achievement standards, improve school accountability, and increase teacher effectiveness. The ten states approved for flexibility are Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.
Here’s what Governors, state education chiefs and education stakeholders are saying about the announcement:
Colorado Education Commissioner Robert Hammond: “The waiver really supports our state system of continuous improvement and allows schools and districts to focus their energies on one accountability system designed to elevate student achievement.”
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal: “This waiver will give Georgia the flexibility we need to pursue our goals of student achievement. We appreciate the cooperation of federal officials as we seek to prepare young Georgians for higher education and the jobs of tomorrow.”
Indiana State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett: “I applaud the U.S. Department of Education for providing states the flexibility they need to drive academic achievement for all students. Indiana’s commitment to comprehensive reform has enabled us to be among the first states receiving a waiver.”
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear: “This federal flexibility opens a new chapter in the Commonwealth’s work to ensure a well-educated citizenry.”
Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius: “Now, with the support of the U.S. Department of Education and Secretary Duncan, we will be able to better address those inequities and create an educational system that better serves our every Minnesota student.”
Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman: “It’s just not helpful or realistic to label schools and districts as failing, especially when they are making significant academic gains. This waiver is all about approving achievement for all students while closing persistent achievement gaps.”
National Education Association: “We’re encouraged by President Obama’s and Secretary Duncan’s efforts to provide NCLB waivers for relief,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “These states have committed to working with teachers, parents, and other community stakeholders to implement changes designed to better support students. Our members look forward to being part of a true partnership with school and community leaders to think creatively about how to help all students thrive with this new flexibility.”
National Association of State Boards of Education: “States and state boards of education are at the fore of innovation in education as they continue to develop and improve policies to help every student become college- or career-ready. It is heartening to see the Administration recognizes this hard work by starting to relieve states of the burden imposed on them by a law that set out worthy but perhaps unrealistic goals.”
The Education Trust: “In this new approach, the federal government takes responsibility for ensuring that states set meaningful goals for all groups of students — particularly low-income students, students of color, students with disabilities and English language learners, all of whom are too often shortchanged by state and local education policy.”