States are lining up to receive a reprieve from some of No Child Left Behind’s most stringent requirements.
This week, the U.S. Department of Education announced that 26 states and the District of Columbia have submitted NCLB waiver requests, joining 11 states that have already been approved. According to the Department, if these requests are approved States 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.
In exchange for this flexibility, states will have to embrace certain education reforms, some of which have been controversial particularly for special educators and students with disabilities. Among these reforms is the adoption of a teacher and principal evaluation system. Many states and school districts have struggled to develop an evaluation system that includes educators who work with students with disabilities. CEC will be reviewing the applications to determine how states propose to include special educators in these systems. CEC has issued recommendations and consideration of components of an evaluation system which can be found here.
The 26 states that have just submitted waiver requests are: 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 Washington, D.C.
Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Tennessee have already received a waiver.