President Obama announced Thursday that he has granted waivers to ten states, releasing them from the tough requirements of No Child Left Behind, the 2001 education reform law.
These states—Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, New Jersey, and Tennessee—are now free to pursue their own plans for raising educational standards.
No Child Left Behind has been unpopular for many reasons, including the fact that it uses yearly standardized tests to evaluate students; educators complain this has led to "teaching to the test." States also say the law is unrealistic for requiring that all students reach proficiency in reading and math by 2014. From The Associated Press:
The states excused from following the law no longer have to meet that deadline. Instead, they had to put forward plans showing they will prepare children for college and careers, set new targets for improving achievement among all students, reward the best performing schools and focus help on the ones doing the worst.
New Mexico applied for waiver in this round, and didn't receive one, but is working with the administration to get eventual approval. Twenty-eight other states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have said they also plan to apply for waivers. No Child Left Behind has been up for renewal since 2007, but Congress has been unable to agree on how to update the law.
Readers, what do you think: Are these waivers the right step to help schools?
Image: Teacher and student at blackboard via Shutterstock