Political News

NC among 26 states seeking relief from education law

Posted February 29, 2012 11:33 a.m. EST
Updated February 29, 2012 3:35 p.m. EST

— The U.S. Education Department says more than half of all states have applied by this week's deadline to be freed from the strenuous requirements of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind law.

The Obama administration is allowing states that agree to improve how they prepare and evaluate students to get a waiver around the law.

Earlier this month, 11 states that applied for a waiver under an earlier deadline were given waivers.

North Carolina is among 26 states and the District of Columbia to submit requests by the latest deadline. All have proposed plans to raise standards, improve accountability, and support reforms to improve principal and teacher effectiveness, officials said.

“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,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement.

If their plans are approved, the states will perform the following tasks:

  • 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 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.