26 More States and D.C. Seek Flexibility from NCLB to Drive Education Reforms in Second Round of Requests

Archived Information

26 More States and D.C. Seek Flexibility from NCLB to Drive Education Reforms in Second Round of Requests

February 29, 2012

Twenty-six new states and the District of Columbia have formally submitted requests to the U.S. Department of Education for waivers from key provisions of No Child Left Behind. This adds to the 11 states that the Obama Administration announced earlier this month had developed and agreed to implement bold education reforms in exchange for relief from burdensome federal mandates.

The latest 26 states—Arkansas, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin—along with D.C., have all proposed plans to raise standards, improve accountability, and support reforms to improve principal and teacher effectiveness.

Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Tennessee have already received flexibility from NCLB based on their locally designed plans to spur education reform.

"The best ideas to meet the needs of individual students are going to come from the local level. Like the first round of waiver applicants, these plans will protect children, raise the bar and give states the freedom to implement reforms that improve student achievement," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

If their plans are approved, these 26 states and D.C. will:

  • Set performance targets based on whether students graduate from high school ready for college and career rather than having to meet NCLB's 2014 deadline based on arbitrary targets for proficiency.
  • Design locally tailored interventions to help students achieve instead of one-size-fits-all remedies prescribed at the federal level.
  • Be free to emphasize student growth and progress using multiple measures rather than just test scores.
  • Have more flexibility in how they spend federal funds to benefit students.

The 27 waiver requests will be posted online along with the names of the peer reviewers who will convene next month to review them. States seeking flexibility in the second round will be notified later this spring. The Department expects additional states to request flexibility by Sept. 6 for the third round of review.

The flexibility was developed with input from state and other education leaders across America under waiver authority granted to the U.S. Department of Education in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. More comprehensive reforms, outlined in President Obama's Blueprint for Reform, await Congressional reauthorization of the ESEA.