Blog

Your Education Road Map

Politics K-12®

ESSA. Congress. State chiefs. School spending. Elections. Education Week reporters keep watch on education policy and politics in the nation’s capital and in the states. Read more from this blog.

Federal

Washington and Wisconsin Approved for NCLB Waivers

By Alyson Klein — July 06, 2012 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Two more states—Washington and Wisconsin—have been approved today for waivers that will allow them to get out from under mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act.

The two approvals mark an important milestone in the NCLB waiver process. Washington and Wisconsin’s approval brings the total of approved states to 26. That means that, officially, more than half the states in the country are no longer subject to the accountability system at the heart of the much-maligned NCLB law.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who dreamed-up the waiver plan, sent out a fist-bumping press release to celebrate.

“It is a remarkable milestone that in only five months, more than half of the states in the country have adopted state-developed, next-generation education reforms to improve student learning and classroom instruction, while ensuring that resources are targeted to the students that need them most,” said Duncan. “A strong, bipartisan reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act remains the best path forward in education reform, but as 26 states have now demonstrated, our kids can’t wait any longer for Congress to act.”

So what’s in these waivers? Washington state’s waiver is conditionally approved, just for the 2012-13 school year. Washington has proposed an accountability system that meets all of the Education Department’s requirements, but the state is hoping to move to a more sophisticated system that includes measures of student achievement, student progress, and graduation rates, in the 2013-14 school year. The state is still working on the details. Once Washington gets its new system in place, it will need to be approved by the department. (Georgia, which was approved for a waiver earlier this year, is in a similar position.)

Washington’s approval also hinges on its teacher- and principal-evaluation system. The state is piloting some new methods of measuring a teachers’ impact on student growth, but hasn’t yet completely finalized the system. The Evergreen State will have to submit its final guidelines to the department next year in order to keep its waiver after the coming school year, a department official said.

To get the waiver, the Washington also provided a lot more detail on interventions for priority schools (the bottom 5 percent of performers in the state). Washington also has an interesting new twist on school support. It’s going to set up “innovation zones” where schools can get freedom certain state requirements. (Washington has no charter law.)

Wisconsin is moving to a new accountability system, in which a school’s progress will be measured against that of the top-performing schools in the state. Like other states, it’s also using a “super subgroup,” combining special education students, English-language learners, and low-income students for accountability purposes. In order to get approved for the waiver, the Badger State had to provide more information on its exit criteria for schools to get out of priority or “focus” status (the next 10 percent lowest performers). It also provided a lot more detail on how it would implement college- and career-ready standards and new teacher and leader evaluations.

For those keeping score at home, there are still 10 states, plus the District of Columbia, that are waiting to have their waivers approved: Arizona, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, Oregon and South Carolina.

But two of those states, Idaho and Kansas, took the added step of getting their Annual Measurable Outcomes (AMOs) frozen for one year while they wait for their waivers to get the thumbs-up. More on what states needed to do to qualify for the freeze here.

One state—Iowa—has been turned down for a waiver, but was also able to freeze its AMOs for a year. Other states that intend to apply for waivers by the next deadline, in early September, also got approval for an AMO freeze: Alabama, Alaska, Maine, and West Virginia.

Related Tags:

Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

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.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
What’s Next for Teaching and Learning? Key Trends for the New School Year
The past 18 months changed the face of education forever, leaving teachers, students, and families to adapt to unprecedented challenges in teaching and learning. As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and
Content provided by Instructure
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.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
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.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

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 New Federal Team to Work on Puerto Rico School Improvement, Oversight
The Puerto Rico Education Sustainability Team will focus on creating better learning environments and improving financial management.
3 min read
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visits the Emilio Delgado School in Corozal on June 30, 2021 during a visit to Puerto Rico.
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visits the Emilio Delgado School in Corozal on June 30, 2021 during a visit to Puerto Rico.
Teresa Canino Rivera/GDA via AP
Federal Feds Add Florida to List of States Under Investigation Over Restrictions on Mask Mandates
The Education Department told the state Sept. 10 it will probe whether its mask rule is violating the rights of students with disabilities.
3 min read
Surrounded by lawmakers, Florida Gov.Ron DeSantis speaks at the end of a legislative session on April 30, 2021, in Tallahassee, Fla.
Surrounded by lawmakers, Florida Gov.Ron DeSantis speaks at the end of a legislative session on April 30, 2021, in Tallahassee, Fla.
Wilfredo Lee/AP
Federal How Biden Will Mandate Teacher Vaccines, Testing in Some States That Don't Require Them
President Joe Biden's COVID-19 plan will create new teacher vaccination and testing requirements in some states through worker safety rules.
4 min read
Nurse Sara Muela, left, administers the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to educator Rebecca Titus at a vaccination site setup for teachers and school staff at the Berks County Intermediate Unit in Reading, Pa., on March 15, 2021.
Nurse Sara Muela administers a COVID-19 vaccine to educator Rebecca Titus at a vaccination site for at the Berks County Intermediate Unit in Reading, Pa.
Matt Rourke/AP
Federal Biden Pushes Schools to Expand COVID-19 Testing, Get More Teachers Vaccinated
President Joe Biden set teacher vaccine requirements for federally operated schools as part of a new effort to drive down COVID's spread.
7 min read
President Joe Biden speaks in the State Dining Room at the White House, Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, in Washington. Biden is announcing sweeping new federal vaccine requirements affecting as many as 100 million Americans in an all-out effort to increase COVID-19 vaccinations and curb the surging delta variant.
President Joe Biden in a speech from the White House announces sweeping new federal vaccine requirements and other efforts in an renewed effort to stem the COVID-19 pandemic.
Andrew Harnik/AP