US DOE: Georgia one of 11 states seeking No Child waiver

In conjunction with my earlier posting today that Georgia has requested a waiver from No Child Left Behind, the U.S. Doe issued this statement:

Just seven weeks after President Obama announced a plan to offer greater flexibility from federal education mandates in exchange for a strong commitment to core reforms that boost student achievement, 11 states formally submitted to the U.S. Department of Education requests for waivers from key provisions of No Child Left Behind.

The following states, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Tennessee filed requests based on locally designed plans to implement college and career ready standards; develop rigorous accountability systems that include a focus on low-performing schools and schools with persistent achievement gaps; and create better systems for developing, supporting and evaluating principals and teachers.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan commended the states requesting waivers saying, “We set a high bar and an aggressive deadline, but these states rose to the challenge. Clearly, there’s tremendous urgency for reform at the local level because our economy and our future are directly tied to the quality of public education. States and districts want flexibility from NCLB so they can make local decisions in the best interests of children—and they can’t wait any longer.”

If their plans are approved, these 11 states will:

* Set performance targets to graduate students from high school ready for college and career rather than having to meet NCLB 2014 deadlines based on arbitrary measures of proficiency.

* Design locally-tailored interventions for schools instead of one-size-fits-all remedies prescribed at the federal level.

* Be free to measure school progress using multiple measures rather than just test scores.

* Have more flexibility in how they spend Title 1 dollars.

The 11 waiver requests will be posted on-line later this week along with the names of the peer reviewers who will convene immediately after Thanksgiving to review them. States seeking flexibility in the first round will be notified by mid-January or earlier.

Since the President’s announcement in September, 39 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico have signaled their intent to seek flexibility from NCLB. The next deadline for requests is in Mid-February. States can also make requests later in the spring

The flexibility package was developed with input from state education leaders across America under waiver authority granted to the U.S. Department of Education in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). More comprehensive reforms, outlined in President Obama’s Blueprint for Reform, await Congressional reauthorization of the ESEA.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

20 comments Add your comment

[...] Georgia is one of 11 states seeking a waiver from key provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which has become viewed as a shackle by most states. [...]


November 15th, 2011
1:12 pm

So, Georgia gets a waiver. What comes next?

Joy in Teaching

November 15th, 2011
1:14 pm

Oh gosh… it’s REALLY gonna get bad around here! I see a future of increased useless paper work for teacher while students have even less accountability.


November 15th, 2011
2:00 pm

We already have a lot of unecessary paper work that data never gets used. So, they add more. I am sure that just means less teaching time and more teacher blame for student lack of ability. Again, parents and students are not a part of the accountability equation. I just love my career choice. It presents such positive outlooks and motivation and of course larger pay increases (oops or did I mean “negatives”and “decreases”)!

Ole Guy

November 15th, 2011
2:31 pm

The flexibility should be exercised in the firm belief that not everyone, by simple virtue of birthright, should be entitled to a high school diploma…at public expense. If we are to continue bringing test scores into the decision factors of evaluating schools…AND teachers…all we will accomplish is an accelerated slippery slope into educational mediocrity. If, by grade 10, the kid cannot spell ALGEBRA, much less perform mysterious algebraic manipulations, the kid simply ain’t gonna make it. Contrary to the misplaced intentions of a previous administration, that particular child should…and MUST…be left behind.

Let’s howbout stop with all the fancy double talk from DOE and say it like it is…NOT EVERYONE IS EDUCATABLE. If they come to expect endless second chances and “alternatives” which serve no other purpose than to salve the guilt of those who, for whatever reason, CAN’T…absolutely nothing of true value will come of this “initiative”.


November 15th, 2011
2:47 pm

“The following states… filed requests based on locally designed plans to … focus on low-performing schools and schools with persistent achievement gaps…

1. Low performing schools = those with large black/hispanic populations.
2. Achievement gap = what happens when you ignore the inherent differences in IQ between the races.

Translation: Everything public schools have done in the sixty years since Brown vs Board to raise the academic achievement of a population of students with an average IQ of 85 with that of a population of students with an average IQ of 100+ has been based on the politically correct fallacy of equality of outcomes.

Sixty years from now, if this Republic is still standing, they will still be talking about that pesky “achievement gap”.

gold star stickers please

November 15th, 2011
3:30 pm

By all means Georgia, let’s use graphic aides instead of terminology. Stars and colors! Visual depictions of numerically indicated levels (stars) of student/school/system academic success and color codes for would be sooo much easier to understand.
Why don’t we just adopt DEFCON’s numerical levels and matching color codes – since everyone understands how it works!


November 15th, 2011
4:46 pm

So is it true ? In the initial waiver information that was posted about a month ago – the letter said that a request to remove “school choice” for schools in the NI range was being requested. With the mumbo jumbo techno speak of this application – it is hard to decipher. Maureen – can you ask for clarity ?

Dunwoody Mom

November 15th, 2011
5:18 pm

@Jennifer…from the waiver request:

Waiver Request from SES and Choice:

Based on the following state level data from SES and Choice, Georgia is also specifically requesting along with this waiver that the Supplemental Educational Services (SES) and Public School Choice (Choice) requirements for Title I schools as prescribed in NCLB be waived:

The GaDOE data show that consistently less than 5% of eligible students take advantage of the Choice option. Georgia introduced a state law (O. C. G. A. §20-2-2130) in 2009 that provides an option for parents to request permissive transfers within districts, providing comparable options for parents and students. (Appendix C, 20-2-2130)

HS Public Teacher

November 15th, 2011
6:21 pm

I notice that most of the states appling for a wavier are in the BOTTOM of state rankings in education. That must tell you something….

Also, Georgia is plowing ahead with the new federal program “Ract to the Top” and so really NCLB is not needed. The problem is that RTTT is even worse!


November 15th, 2011
6:38 pm

Pfft. SOMEONE will make money from this. Of that you can be sure.

And kids will continue to be behind because the stool has only one leg.

Beverly Fraud

November 15th, 2011
7:56 pm

Anyone see the irony in Georgia seeking “flexibility” in exchange for rigor (as in mortis)?


November 15th, 2011
8:04 pm

I’m really surprised there is so much sniping in the comments here as, from what I have read the last few years, many of you all are opposed to NCLB. Now that the state has applied for waivers, there is more complaining. Do you oppose or are you in favor of it — which is it? Teachers out there, what would you do differently? The accountability train has left the station, what can policymakers do to give you more teaching time and still fulfill the need for accountability (for both teachers and students/parents, mind you)? These are real questions that parents like me that are desperate for real reforms want to hear answered.

Beverly Fraud

November 15th, 2011
8:39 pm

Teachers out there, what would you do differently?

A) Restore the discipline

B) mandate administrators have to teach a FULL year every three years

C) tangible policies with REAL teeth, to protect teachers from administrative RETALIATION, so they can speak out against systemic STUPIDITY and systemic CHEATING

There’s a start…

down and outs

November 15th, 2011
8:57 pm

Okay it is time for Ed Heatley to pack his bags and be gone. He has illegally taken money from teachers and he has furloughed teachers for the next two years by decreasing the number of days that we work. He talks to principals like they have a tail. He is Adolf Hitler reincarnated. I cannot understand why the board members support this beas t. I hope that the NAACP continues to boycott meetings and make his life miserable. Why does he want to charge the cheerleaders and basketball players $45 to play when it has been free? Are teachers ever going to recoup the monies that were taken from us? CCPS will lose a lot of great teachers because board members will not support them or do what is best for the county and the children.


November 15th, 2011
11:50 pm

Ah thank you Dunwoody Mom! I was so focused on the achievement gap measurement I must have missed those lines.


November 16th, 2011
6:12 am

I had to test a young boy from Nepal the 1st day he came to our school. He did not speak the language had never seen a scantron sheet but according to NCLB he had to take the test. I challenge any adult to go to another country, sit in a classroom one day and take a test that determines whether you pass or fail, and get back to me on that. Ga is one of the top states in the nation for refugees, Why don’t you ask the tough questions…why do we have so many in Ga? What is the city of Clarkston gaining from hosting refugees? Another question, when will we hold parents accountable for assisting in their child’s education? To get in the esteemed Ron Clark Academy parents MUST be involved or sorry…back to public education for you. No Child Left Behind is a sham and should not have been allowed to continue for as long as it has.


November 16th, 2011
6:58 am

Cherokee, because teachers know someone will profit (hint: not the kids) from the change.


November 16th, 2011
11:58 am

Requesting a waiver from NCLB sounds like it was inevitable, and is now probably a good thing. The requirement that 100% of schools students meet and pass the NCLB testing requirement by 2014 was never a realistic goal, and it sounds like everyone involved with getting NCLB passed (during the Bush admin.) knew that it was unrealistic at the time. But oh well, that was 10 years down the road at the time, so apparently everyone just thought we’ll worry about that later.

Now we’re having to deal with the consequences. As we get closer and closer to 2014, more and more schools are not meeting AYP as required by NCLB, and so more and more students are eligible for NCLB transfers. But in many school districts, the school(s) that NCLB transfers want to switch to (the “good” schools) are already full or over-capacity. So we have the ridiculous situations of the “annex” at DeKalb’s closed Avondale high school to house NCLB transfer students, or APS’ Grady high school which is already full and next year with most of the other APS high schools failing to meet AYP could potentially face a flood of NCLB transfers. These are obviously unworkable consequences of the unrealistic NCLB program. These situations also illustrate how school “choice”, as some advocate, would not solve the problem of “failing” schools. Would 100% of schools meet NCLB’s 2014 requirement if everyone had school choice? Of course not.

Ole Guy

November 16th, 2011
4:05 pm

Cherokee, quite possibly, you are not understanding a very basic premise…NCLB needs no variations; no waivers; no nothing…it needs to be tossed into the trash can of stupid notions. As our esteemed Washington leadership slowely begins to realize that this particular piece of legislation only reflects the simple-mindedness which comes from those completely out of touch with the realities du jour, the obvious reaction is one of political face-saving. Rather than saying, “Hey, folks, we _ _ cked up”, they take a piece of garbage legislation and attempt to gussy it up with the “purfume” of psuedo-change. NCLB needs no waivers…it needs to be abolished in it’s entirety.

To those who choose to sniff indignations at my references to salty language…TOO DAMN BAD!