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Obama Administration approves two more states for NCLB flexibility

Submitted by U.S, Department of Education Office of Communications & Outreach Press Office

26 states approved so far; 10 states and Washington, D.C., currently under review: Other states can still apply

The Obama Administration approved Washington and Wisconsin recently for flexibility from key provisions of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) in exchange for state-developed plans to prepare all students for college and career, focus aid on the neediest students, and support effective teaching and leadership.

Today’s announcement brings to 26 the number of states that have been approved for waivers from NCLB, whose rigid, top-down prescriptions for reform, while well-intentioned, proved burdensome for many states.

Federal education law has been due for congressional re-authorization since 2007. In the face of congressional inaction, President Obama announced in September of 2011 that the Obama Administration would grant waivers from NCLB to qualified states.

The first requests for waivers were granted in February of 2012. Eleven additional requests are still under review, and there is still time for other states to apply.

“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 U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. “A strong, bi-partisan 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.”

The 26 states that have been approved for waivers from NCLB include: Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

The 10 other states (plus Washington, D.C.) with outstanding requests for waivers include: Arizona, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, Oregon and South Carolina.

The 14 states (plus Puerto Rico) that have not yet requested a waiver through this process include: Alabama, Alaska, California, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont (request withdrawn), West Virginia and Wyoming.

States have until Sept. 6 to apply for the next round of waivers.

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      The problem is our shocols are not doing anything to help these students meet the increased standards, that are all focused on sequential, rote and language-based skills, primarily test-based. ESE, particularly 2e, are being pushed out of our shocols by virtue of a hostile environment/curriculum that completely ignores their learning needs. Dyslexia isn’t even recognized by the state. Schools like to label it a behavior problem, and punish the child for their learning differences. Gifted dyslexic students receive no instructional strategies to allow them to flourish. Imagine telling Einstein and Steve Jobs their genius problem-solving is worthless, because they didn’t come up with the one right answer required on the FCAT. That’s what our shocols are doing to our 2e kids on a regular basis. Statements like he can do it if he’s interested just crack me up. Well, then, make it interesting for him in a way he can learn. What would be so terrible about that? Why are our shocols disregarding all of the visual spatial learners? Small wonder creativity and innovation has dropped in this country. Sometimes there just isn’t any common sense.

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