The Obama administration today approved three more requests for waivers 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. The approved states include Alaska, Hawaii and West Virginia.
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 Department has now approved requests from 37 states and D.C., with other applications still pending.
"Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia can't wait any longer for education reform," U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said. "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 of 2011 that the Obama administration would grant waivers from NCLB to qualified states.
The previous 34 states, plus D.C., that have been approved for waivers from NCLB include: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
The eight states, plus the Bureau of Indian Education and Puerto Rico, with outstanding requests for waivers include: Alabama, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, 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The five states that have not yet requested flexibility include: California, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota (request withdrawn), and Vermont (request withdrawn).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 will continue its consideration of a separate request for waivers from the CORE districts in California.