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Arne Duncan Has Reached a Verdict on Washington State’s Waiver

By Alyson Klein — April 24, 2014 1 min read
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U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan has already decided whether to revoke Washington state’s No Child Left Behind waiver, according to a Seattle Times story. But we still don’t know exactly what the decision is.

Here’s what Kristen Jaudon, a spokeswoman for the state superintendent’s office, told the Seattle Times. “We have received a phone call saying that a letter is coming with Arne Duncan’s decision. We haven’t seen a copy of the letter.” Jaudon declined to comment to the paper about the letter’s contents.

State chief Randy Dorn has been saying for weeks now that the state is on the verge of losing its waiver. And other sources expected Duncan to pull the plug on the waiver by the end of this month. If that happens, Washington state would be the first to lose the flexibility from many of the mandates of the much maligned law. So far, 43 states and the District of Columbia have waivers.

Some background: Washington state, like others waiver states, is having difficulty with teacher evaluation. Its state law gives districts a choice of using either state or local exams to gauge teacher performance. But the U.S. Department of Education insists that state tests always be a factor. It granted Washington’s waiver conditionally, contingent on a legislative change. Dorn and Gov. Jay Inslee backed a proposal that would have called for state tests to be a factor in evaluations by 2017-18. But it failed to gain sufficient support in the legislature.