IN, KY, and Other States Get Break On NCLB
(Washington, D.C.) – Ten states including Indiana and Kentucky won’t have to comply with parts of the No Child Left Behind education reform law.
Speaking at the White House Thursday, President Barack Obama said the Bush-era law is badly in need of an upgrade and complained that Congress is not getting it done.
“This is one of the first and the biggest ‘we can’t wait’ announcements that we’ve made, because our kids and our schools can’t be held back by inaction,” the president said.
In return for waivers, the ten states agreed to implement reforms in areas including teacher evaluation and boosting aid for underperforming schools.
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Indiana’s top education official, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett, applauded the president’s decision.
“Indiana’s commitment to comprehensive reform has enabled us to be among the first states receiving a waiver. This is a tribute to the hard work of so many educators, students, parents, community members and policy makers in our state,” Bennett said.
“No Child Left Behind was a giant step forward for our nation’s schools. It brought accountability to a system sorely in need of a structure for driving results. However, as new advances in measuring student achievement and educator effectiveness have become available, the need for increased flexibility at the state and local level is more apparent than ever,” he continued.
Obama stressed that greater freedom will be accompanied by greater accountability.
Indiana State Teachers Association president Nate Schnellenberger was at the White House as the president made the announcement. He said Indiana’s education officials need to include teachers, parents, and the public in any future reforms.
“It’s important that the Indiana Department of Education be committed to the spirit of this waiver to bring about real school reform that works for Hoosier students — access to early education, well-rounded instruction, safe and supportive learning environments and access to caring and qualified teachers,” Schnellenberg said.
The eight other states accepting waivers are Florida, New Jersey, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Tennessee.