More States Asking for NCLB Waivers

By Michele McNeil — August 09, 2011 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

As Congress continues to drag its feet in rewriting the No Child Left Behind Act, a growing number of states are getting in line for Education Department relief from provisions of the current law.

Michigan and Tennessee are the latest to formally seek waivers from the NCLB’s 2014 deadline for all students to be proficient in math and reading. Other states are waiting for details about U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s promised plan to create a formal waiver process from many of the requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, of which NCLB is the latest version.

As that deadline for 100 percent proficiency approaches, more schools are failing to make adequate yearly progress, the main NCLB yardstick. Schools that don’t make AYP face an escalating set of sanctions, and states and districts are struggling to deal with that growing number.

While states such as Michigan and Tennessee are asking for permission to ignore parts of the law, other states, including Idaho, are just telling the department they plan to disobey it, with or without approval.

Tom Luna, Idaho’s education chief, told the department in June that he had no intention of complying with the part of the law that requires states to gradually increase proficiency targets in math and reading. In a letter to Mr. Duncan, he said that with ESEA renewal stalled, he would take matters into his own hands.

In a July 27 letter to Mr. Luna, the Education Department approved a change to Idaho’s accountability plan, letting the state keep its proficiency targets level for a third year in a row. But the department made clear that Idaho must stay on the path toward 100 percent proficiency in math and reading.

The department isn’t always so easily swayed.

In April, Montana became the first state to inform federal officials that it would not be raising its proficiency targets, which would be for a fourth consecutive year. Mr. Duncan would not grant a waiver and gave state officials until Aug. 15 to come up with a plan to comply with the law or face consequences.

South Dakota, which has also told the department it plans to freeze proficiency targets for a third straight year, had not received an official response from federal officials as of last week.

A version of this article appeared in the August 10, 2011 edition of Education Week as More States Asking for NCLB Waivers


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Whole Child Approach to Supporting Positive Student Behavior 
To improve student behavior, it’s important to look at the root causes. Social-emotional learning may play a preventative role.

A whole child approach can proactively support positive student behaviors.

Join this webinar to learn how.
Content provided by Panorama
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Why Retaining Education Leaders of Color Is Key for Student Success
Today, in the United States roughly 53 percent of our public school students are young people of color, while approximately 80 percent of the educators who lead their classrooms, schools, and districts are white. Racial
Jobs January 2022 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal Citing Educator and Parent Anxieties, Senators Press Biden Officials on Omicron Response
Lawmakers expressed concern about schools' lack of access to masks and coronavirus tests, as well as disruptions to in-person learning.
5 min read
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, left, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to the president, testify before a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing to examine the federal response to COVID-19 and new emerging variants, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022 on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, left, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to the president, testify at a Senate hearing about the federal response to COVID-19.
Greg Nash/Pool via AP
Federal Miguel Cardona Should Help Schools Push Parents to Store Guns Safely, Lawmakers Say
More than 100 members of Congress say a recent shooting at a Michigan high school underscores the need for Education Department action.
3 min read
Three Oakland County Sheriff's deputies survey the grounds outside of the residence of parents of the Oxford High School shooter on Dec. 3, 2021, in Oxford, Mich.
Three Oakland County Sheriff's deputies survey the grounds outside of the Crumbley residence while seeking James and Jennifer Crumbley, parents of Oxford High School shooter Ethan Crumbley, on Dec. 3, 2021, in Oxford, Mich.
Jake May/The Flint Journal via AP
Federal In Reversal, Feds Seek to Revive DeVos-Era Questions About Sexual Misconduct by Educators
The Education Department's decision follows backlash from former education Secretary Betsy DeVos and other conservatives.
4 min read
Illustration of individual carrying binary data on his back to put back into the organized background of 1s and 0s.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Federal Biden Administration Lays Out Its Top Priorities for Education Grants
The pandemic's impact and a diverse, well-prepared educator workforce are among areas the administration wants to fund at its discretion.
2 min read
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington on Aug. 5, 2021.
U.S. Secretary of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona speaks during a White House briefing.
Susan Walsh/AP