After Rhode Island adopted several education reforms to improve school accountability, enhance teacher and principal effectiveness, turn around low-performing schools, and develop plans to prepare all students for college and career, the U.S. Department of Education today announced that Rhode Island's application for a waiver from key provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act has been granted.
"I am pleased the Obama Administration has granted Rhode Island this flexibility. Rhode Island is at the forefront of developing the next generation of school accountability and support systems. This waiver will give the state more freedom to implement reforms and increased flexibility over how it invests federal education dollars," said U.S. Senator Jack Reed.
"This waiver is helpful in the near term to allow Rhode Island schools to determine how best to prepare our students for successful futures," said Senator Whitehouse, a member of the Senate Committee tasked with reauthorizing the No Child Left Behind law. "Going forward, we must still take action in Congress to reform federal education policies to support local innovations, and I will continue working on the HELP Committee to get that done."
In September 2011, the Obama Administration announced it would grant waivers to states that could devise "rigorous and comprehensive plans" aimed at improving educational outcomes and accountability. In the first round of requests, 11 states were granted waivers from NCLB.
26 states and the District of Columbia applied for the waiver in this second round. Only 8 states -- including Rhode Island -- had their applications approved. Eighteen additional applications are still under review.
States previously granted waivers include: Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Tennessee.
Reed and Whitehouse also called on Congress to resume bipartisan efforts to pass a new version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which is known in its current form as NCLB.