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Five States Are Granted Renewal of NCLB Waivers

Five States are Granted Renewal of NCLB Waivers

The U.S. Department of Education renewed five states' waivers for parts of No Child Left Behind.

All five states -- Kentucky, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Mexico, and Virginia, "applied for waivers under a special fast-track process," according to an article on EducationWeek.org.

"That means that Kentucky, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Mexico, and Virginia will get to keep their waivers for another four years, to through the 2018-19 school year, meaning beyond the end of the Obama administration," the article said. "The fast track renewal was intended, as a reward of sorts, for states that remained on track with their original waiver plans in the tricky area of teacher evaluation."

According to the article, "for the most part, the states were seeking relatively modest changes to their original proposals."

"For instance, Kentucky wants to tweak its accountability system to give schools additional credit for reducing the number of students scoring at the 'novice' [lowest] level on state tests, and for moving students into a higher level. On the other hand, schools would lose points if students slip from a higher level into 'novice' or 'apprentice' [second-lowest] level," the article said.

Meanwhile, New Mexico's waiver request discusses the difficulty in ensuring schools climb out of 'priority' status, which is reserved for the lowest-performing schools that need the most-intensive interventions. And North Carolina included language in its application updating the Education Department on the state's search for a new assessment. Minnesota is seeking to lower the number of 'subgroup' students in a school that count for accountability purposes to 20 from 40.

According to the article, "the process may well be the Obama administration's last, best chance to put its stamp on the No Child Left Behind Act before leaving office in 2017. It's unclear whether the next president—Republican or Democrat—will continue with the administration's waiver scheme. But even if the waivers don't stay in place very much longer, they could inform state accountability systems for years to come, state chiefs from Minnesota, New Mexico, and Virginia told reporters."

Read the full story and comment below. Please note that Education Week's articles are available on a tiered subscription model.

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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