Entries in No Child Left Behind (2)


Obama Frees 10 States from 'No Child Left Behind' Requirements

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama announced Thursday that 10 states are freed from the central requirements of the “No Child Left Behind” education law in exchange for their promise to adopt higher standards and reform the way they evaluate students.

“If you're willing to set higher, more honest standards than the ones that were set by "No Child Left Behind," then we're going to give you the flexibility to meet those standards,” the president said. “We combine greater freedom with greater accountability.”

Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Tennessee have all been exempt from meeting the 2014 NCLB targets in exchange for embracing reforms that the White House deems necessary. To qualify, states must adopt “college and career-ready” standards, link teacher evaluations to student performance and create an accountability system to reward their best schools and report their lowest-performing ones.

The president said he was giving these states “the green light to continue making the reforms that are best for them,” explaining that “if we're serious about helping our children reach their full potential, the best ideas aren't going to just come from here in Washington.”

As currently written, the Bush-era law allows states to set their own goals for academic success, but they risk losing federal education funding if their students fail to show “adequate yearly progress.”  Critics, including Obama, say this system encourages states to “dummy down” standards to report better progress.

“The goals of 'No Child Left Behind' were the right ones,” Obama said. “We've got to stay focused on those goals. But we've got to do it in a way that doesn't force teachers to teach to the test or encourage schools to lower their standards to avoid being labeled as failures. That doesn't help anybody; certainly doesn't help our children in the classroom.”

Eleven states requested waivers after the president announced last September that he would allow states flexibility from the strict mandates of the law. New Mexico, the 11th state in the first round, had an “incomplete” application, but continues to work with the White House.

Twenty-eight other states along with Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., have indicated their intent to seek flexibility.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


10 States to Receive Flexibility from No Child Left Behind Rules

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama will announce on Thursday that 10 states will receive flexibility from the most burdensome mandates of No Child Left Behind.

In exchange for this flexibility, the states have agreed to raise standards, improve accountability and undertake essential reforms to improve teacher effectiveness.

The ten states that have been approved under the law are Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Tennessee.

The administration is also continuing to work closely with New Mexico, the eleventh state that requested flexibility in the first round. Twenty-eight other states, along with Puerto Rico and D.C., have indicated their intent to seek flexibility.

The decision to provide flexibility followed extensive efforts to work with Congress to rewrite No Child Left Behind. In March 2010, the Obama administration submitted a “blueprint for reform” to the Hill and has met extensively with Republican and Democratic legislators.

The current law labels too many schools as failing, dictates unworkable remedies and results in driving down standards, weakening accountability and narrowing the curriculum.

To qualify for flexibility, states must adopt and have a plan to implement college and career-ready standards. They must also create comprehensive systems of teacher and principal development, including evaluation and support that include factors beyond test scores, such as principal observation, peer review, student work, or parent and student feedback.

States receiving flexibility no longer have to meet 2014 targets set by No Child Left Behind, but they must set new performance targets for improving student achievement and closing achievement gaps.  They also must have accountability systems that recognize and reward high-performing schools and those that are making significant gains, while targeting rigorous and comprehensive interventions for the lowest-performing schools.

Under the state-developed plans, all schools will develop and implement plans for improving educational outcomes for underperforming subgroups of students. State plans will maintain transparency around achievement gaps, and provide greater flexibility to schools in how they remedy those gaps. This means they can invest Title I federal dollars more flexibly rather than following strict federal mandates.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio