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Federal Waiver Granted to Schools for 'No Child Left Behind' Requirements

By 2014, school districts that didn't have 100 percent of their students meeting reading and math requirement outlined within No Child Left Behind regulations would have been deemed as failing, but now the federal government has provided an exemption.

The Federal government granted Wisconsin a waiver from meeting requirements set by the No Child Left Behind Law after state officials proposed their own state-wide improvement plans. 

The OK on Wisconsin's application for a waiver from certain requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind law equates relief from what many characterized as punitive system for judging school performance over the past decade, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Under the exemption, the state is released from meeting a 2014 deadline under the law requiring 100 percent of students be proficient in reading and math.

But the waiver also means the state will be setting additional expectations, which school districts will need to meet.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan lauded the waivers, but still called for bipartisan support for the passage of the federal education law, which has been up for reauthorization from Congress since 2007.

"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," Duncan said. "A strong, bipartisan 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."

Governor Scott Walker said in a statement Friday for the past year and a half the state has worked with Democrats, Republicans, and a wide variety of education stakeholders to develop systems to help our schools and teachers improve.

"This waiver puts more power in the hands of Wisconsin’s parents, educators, and elected officials to determine what is best for students in each community," Walker said. "I am hopeful that Congress will continue to work toward a more permanent refining of the federal government’s role in education.

"In the meantime, we must continue to develop a fair and transparent system for evaluating and improving our state’s public, choice, and charter schools.  Together we will replicate successful schools while finding ways to improve schools that are not achieving results," Walker continued.

Earlier this year, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction presented Wisconsin's Elementary and Secondary Education Act Flexibility Request, which would propose state legislation that would require high school students to take more math and science classes, and red flag schools with high levels of absenteeism and low graduation rates.

“Wisconsin's NCLB waiver is an ambitious education reform package. We are setting higher expectations for students, educators, and schools with a clear focus on our graduates being college and career ready,” according to State Superintendent Tony Evers.

Wisconsin joins 25 other states in being granted the federal waiver.

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