The Obama Administration today approved the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for a waiver from No Child Left Behind (NCLB), in exchange for state-developed plans to prepare all students for college and career, focus aid on the neediest students, and support effective teaching and leadership.
Since fall 2011, 45 states, D.C., Puerto Rico and the Bureau of Indian Education have requested waivers from NCLB in order to implement next-generation education reforms that go far beyond the law's rigid, top-down prescriptions. The Education Department has now approved requests from 41 states and D.C., with other applications still pending.
"Forty one states and the District of Columbia can't wait any longer for education reform," said U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. "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."
Federal education law has been due for Congressional reauthorization since 2007. In the face of Congressional inaction, President Obama announced in September 2011 that the Administration would grant waivers from NCLB to qualified states.
The previous 40 states, plus D.C., that have been approved for waivers from NCLB include: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
The four states, plus the Bureau of Indian Education and Puerto Rico, with outstanding requests for waivers include: Illinois, Iowa, Texas and Wyoming.
The five states that have not yet requested flexibility include: California, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota (request withdrawn), and Vermont (request withdrawn). California has notified the Department that the state does not plan to request ESEA flexibility for the next school year, and instead will focus on implementing the new Common Core State Standards. The Department approved a separate request for waivers from the CORE districts in California.