In a May 29, 2012 press release, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced its approval of No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) waivers for eight additional states: Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Rhode Island. ED previously granted NCLB waivers for 11 states; 18 additional waiver applications are still under review. The approved states must agree to “prepare all students for college and career, focus aid on the neediest students, and support effective teaching and leadership.”
Waiver-approved states are relieved of the NCLB requirements that schools must meet adequate yearly progress targets and that all students must be proficient in reading and math by 2014; in exchange, ED requires the states to develop alternative accountability systems to measure and track all students’ academic achievement. According to a May 23rd article published online at www.specialedconnection.com, some education policy experts are concerned that the accountability systems proposed by some waiver states may not adequately support students with special academic needs. However, ED’s press release stressed that many of the new state-created accountability systems actually capture more students at risk, including low-income students, students with disabilities, and English learners. Policy experts have pledged to work with ED to ensure that appropriate monitoring is in place for disadvantaged students in the waiver states.