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No Educator Left Behind: Waivers

No Educator Left Behind is a series providing answers from the U.S. Department of Education to questions about the federal No Child Left Behind Act and how it will affect educators. If you have a question about No Child Left Behind, send an e-mail to Ellen Delisio, and we will submit your question to the Department of Education.

Question:

Can school districts seek waivers for the failing school choice option? If a district is granted a waiver, do district officials have to re-apply for a waiver every year?

U.S. Department of Education:

States are required to implement this important provision of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. The Department of Education has provided significant flexibility to states and districts that may be experiencing implementation challenges, especially during this first transition year. We expect all states and school districts to follow the law, and Secretary of Education Rod Paige and his staff have been working with states since day one to assist and guide them in the proper implementation of this new landmark reform law. In mid-June, the Department of Education hosted a conference on implementation of choice and supplemental services, specifically designed to help prepare states, districts, and service providers for the new provisions.

The Secretary does not anticipate granting waivers. During this first year of implementation, the Department of Education expects states to ensure that districts respect and follow the spirit of NCLB, and are creative in offering parental options for children who, in come cases, have been trapped for too long in under-performing schools. School districts do have the option to seek waivers under Title IX, Section 9401 of NCLB. Such waivers may be granted for more than one year.

Read previous questions and answers in our No Educator Left Behind archive.

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