Thursday, February 9, 2012

10 States Receive NCLB Waivers Today; Idaho Will Apply Later This Month

President Obama announced today that 10 states have received waivers from certain provisions of No Child Left Behind today.

The states awarded waivers are: Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.

These states all applied in the first round in November 2011. Idaho is submitting its waiver application in the second round, due by February 21.

Idaho chose to apply in the second round and use the additional time to work with stakeholder groups on the development of Idaho’s new accountability plan.

Staff from the State Department of Education held focus groups with parents, legislators, teachers, principals, superintendents, and school board members in October. Staff met with representatives of all education stakeholder groups, including the Idaho Education Association, Idaho Association of School Administrators, Idaho School Boards Association, Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs and Idaho Indian Education Committee. The Department also has worked with members of the State Board of Education throughout the process.

In January, the Department published a draft of the state’s waiver application on its website and opened it up for public comment for 21 days.

The state made several changes based on this feedback. The final application is posted online now.

Idaho’s application will go before the State Board of Education for approval on February 15. After that, it will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education, prior to the deadline on February 21.

We hope to hear back on Idaho’s waiver application this spring and join the other 10 states in being granted a waiver from certain provisions of No Child Left Behind.

With a waiver, Idaho will create its new system of increased accountability based on higher standards, academic growth, and improved performance evaluations for educators – all key components of the Students Come First reform laws. These laws have positioned Idaho well to implement its new system of increased accountability.

A waiver will get Idaho out from under the current No Child Left Behind law, which only measures states based on proficiency – or how many students pass the test. Instead, under the new accountability system, Idaho will be able to measure school performance with multiple metrics including academic growth, graduation rates and student participation in advanced opportunities.

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