The Obama administration today approved Illinois for a waiver from the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), in exchange for state-developed plans to prepare all students for college and careers, focus aid on the neediest students and support effective teaching and leadership.
Since fall 2011, 45 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the Bureau of Indian Education have requested waivers from NCLB in order to implement next-generation education reforms that go far beyond the law's rigid, top-down prescriptions. The U.S. Department of Education has now approved requests from 43 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., with other applications still pending.
"Illinois leaders have been moving forward with education reforms, and this flexibility from the prescriptive measures of NCLB will help them continue that work," said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "A strong, bipartisan reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act remains the best path forward for education reform, but as Illinois and other states have demonstrated, our kids can't wait any longer."
Federal education law has been due for Congressional reauthorization since 2007. In the absence of reauthorization, President Obama announced in September 2011 that the administration would grant waivers from NCLB to qualified states.
The previous 42 states that have been approved for waivers from NCLB include: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico have also been approved for waivers.
Iowa and Wyoming, plus the Bureau of Indian Education, have outstanding requests for waivers.
The five states that have not yet requested flexibility include: California, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota (request withdrawn), and Vermont (request withdrawn). The Department approved a separate request for waivers from the CORE districts in California.