We Can’t Wait: 10 States Approved for NCLB Flexibility

“We can’t wait,” President Obama said earlier today at a White House event to announce that 10 states have been approved for flexibility in exchange for reform from No Child Left Behind. The ten states approved for flexibility are Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.

“The goals of No Child Left Behind were the right ones,” the President said, pointing to standards, accountability and closing the achievement gap. “We’ve got to stay focused on those goals,” he said. “But we need to do it in a way that doesn’t force teachers to teach to the test, or encourage schools to lower their standards to avoid being labeled as failures.”

In a statement earlier today, Secretary Duncan said that “rather than dictating educational decisions from Washington, we want state and local educators to decide how to best meet the individual needs of students.”

To get flexibility from NCLB, states must adopt and have a plan to implement college and career-ready standards. They must also create comprehensive systems of teacher and principal development, evaluation and support that include factors beyond test scores, such as principal observation, peer review, student work, or parent and student feedback.

States receiving waivers no longer have to meet 2014 targets set by NCLB but they must set new performance targets for improving student achievement and closing achievement gaps.

They also must have accountability systems that recognize and reward high-performing schools and those that are making significant gains, while targeting rigorous and comprehensive interventions for the lowest-performing schools.

Under the state-developed plans, all schools will develop and implement plans for improving educational outcomes for underperforming subgroups of students. State plans will require continued transparency around achievement gaps, but will provide schools and districts greater flexibility in how they spend Title I federal dollars.

Click here to read the press release.

Click here to read the President’s remarks.

Additional information on ESEA Flexibility, including request details, can be found at www.ed.gov/esea/flexibility.


  1. I am very upset with the school system they say no child left behind but that is just what is happening.the kids are not getting the help they need to put them up to grade level. Something really needs to be done about this. If we truly are going to have a no child left behind act.

  2. Thank you so much for your post and you are so right.. I am paying a school money,,the state is paying them money, their are grants paying them money, donations, fundraisers, the trash and teasure made over 20 k last year. the photographer gives them Part of the money/ They advertize they are a school for the disabled and they are now acting like the souths public school system I am frustraed. my son is being relatallied because of me advocating his rights.. I am sad and have a whole in my heart once again with the way I , my son, and I have witnessed other children being hurt by the educators who are uneducated… What can I do I need support I need an advocate I need help… My son’s life along with many others need your help… Baton Rouge Hope Acadmey.. please look at the advertisement… and they are acting like they have no money and they cant help my son… and since I have reported to them about what is going wrong and since then they have singled him out, made an example out of him, screamed at me and casted me out for the very rules I am as a parent duties to advocate for my son and his diabilites… Please help

    • And they get all of his diability check too!!!! What is wrong with this picture.. full disability check is not enough money to help him though advertized his disability along with many others… but cant afford to give him the help he needs… I am now for the first time are being told my 7K is not enough.. if the government expects us to live on disability dont you think the school would consider getting all of his money would be too?

    • Judging by your rant, your mispellings, lack of grammar, quickness to call out others I would guess your son’s problems start with you. Checking the reviews, comments and university associations with this school it seems this school is cutting edge and you are the “Lone Wolf” in any complaint. Perhaps you should try to work with that system instead of alienating yourself and your son by calling them out and naming names on the internet.

      • I am actually surprised that a student advocate would act so unprofessional on a website focusing on reforming an educational system that desperately needs to change. I am a mother of a disabled child who thoroughly understands that advocating for your child is a continual battle that is rarely successful and yes the Mother is correct you do face being retaliated against, disability checks for your child being taken away these are checks that just to let it be known that are not based on parental income as well as agencies taking advantage of my child’s medicaid and fraudulently billing then the same agency turns in false statements on our family my son then loses all services at home no school program is offered by the school district no related services etc. it has been a nightmare for two years I end up winning my fair hearing think life will definitely start being better but no life gets worse these agencies then blatantly refuse to follow the court order that cleared my name and directed all services retroactive immediately well… this order was issued last spring and he is still at home with not even an education I now am awaiting to see the outcome of the federal complaint seems how nobody will follow a state direct court order so yes it does not matter how educated a parent is at all discrimination is discrimination and honestly parents with disabled children have a hard enough time accepting their child’s disability that is always there and to make matters worse people like the student advocate that is rude,insulting,presumptuous have no business tormenting a parent further to cause more anguish maybe you should be a lone wolf and keep your nasty opinion to yourself because somebody with your mental thought process definitely should never be allowed to work with any child let alone innocent disabled children who need their family to be advocates I shudder to think about the children who are not fortunate enough to have a family that advocates for them how much worse do they get treated and yes I do realize that not every school or agency is corrupt but unfortunately that is all I have seen and my child is ten but everything is worth it all just to see a smile on his face he is my blessing and makes our life special by being him!!

      • I would certainly hope that “student advocate” is only your screen name and not your job title. As a human being I find your response rude and lacking discernment. As a parent I find it disgraceful. As a professional I find it unethical. As a parent of a disabled child I find your comment disgusting and please remember everything we send out always finds it’s way back ten-fold. Maybe you should try sending some positive things because you most certainly will need a lot of them to even make up for a fourth of what you will receive back from your opening statement. One thing you stated though is accurate it “seems” the school is….Nothing is ever what it seems. Any random person could make comments under a hundred different names if they so chose. Also how do you know those are truly accurate reviews. As to the associations unfortunately money/politics talk these days. I am also disgusted with the system in my state right now. My child has been stripped of everything he needs in order to attempt success at school. We have had nothing but problems. I have advocated this child’s entire life. This pass year advocating has gotten me nowhere…..except for this no good school trying to place all the blame on me….I have proof of everything they have done to my child (and not done shall I say even when it is on his IEP). It makes me sick that schools like this are receiving State and Federal funding and it is not even going to the child. Some of my son’s funding went to hire Teaching Assistants for a general ed classroom…..in the meantime my son was stripped of his 1:1 aide without my knowledge or consent. My son is not grade level in any of his subjects. Almost all of his class/homework is failing…..13%, 45%..etc….and hardly any above 65%. But what do you know his overall grade is only averaged by his “testing”. Funny enough, in one subject, he is above average for his grade level. My son has testing accomodations but certainly no accomodations for his actual tests to be changed to a lower grade level (while the others receive the normal grade level tests). So my son really is failing but is their “success story”. This was the first year my child ever went to the public school. He has always prior been in a BOCES program. They are doing my child no favors, frauding the local and federal government, and really setting my child up for complete failure. Possibly making his potential less than what it could be in life. Funny disability is mentioned. I actually received a bill from SSI which my son hasn’t received SSI in well over a year. However I did months ago find out that some agency is receiving his disability checks. They would not tell me what agency it was though. Makes me wonder if this school is getting that too. It is no wonder some people do not want their taxes going to help the disabled….we all need to think about this prior to becoming defensive….how much of the money is truly going to help the disabled. It is not necessarily the disabled others are referring to when they say they don’t want to pay their taxes for that……the majority of times people are referring to these agencies, politics, and all the corruption going on today. You cannot trust anyone. Which is why I advocate for my child every day and still hit brick walls so to speak.

  3. NCLB is the right answer. The dilemma is that too many groups that do not have educating kids as their stated reason for existnece run the money trail and have put up a destructive smoke campaign to hide the truth. Frankly, surprised by “former educators” on here who think that it is bad. The Standardized test measure the standards, by grade level that indicate a student met the MINIMUM standards to move on to the next grade level. MOst states mandate those standards in State Law. Every ounce of curriculum in schools using those standards as the foundation for every lesson plan. Yet, former educators believe it is too hard, or unfair, to get even 80% of their students to meet the minimum mark? PULEEASE! Now NCLB did set unrealistic goals. But, had folks got on with it, instead of spendign so much time talking about how it can’t be done. I would wager 80% of ALL kids in teh nation would be meeting those minimum standards. It ain’t rocket science!! And I would think educated folks would know that the parents of America want some proof that thier local school is meeting standards etablished by law. The days of showing how good a teacher was at their retirement are over. Testing is not an end all, but it is a pretty low hurdle to expect real professional teachers to meet.

    • We clearly have a rocket scientist who knows the ins and outs of public school education here. People do not go into the classroom for money. Newsflash, it’s not there. They go in because they want to educate children. The problem with universal standardized testing and NCLB is that it compares students in wealthy cities with parents who have terminal degrees and unlimited family resources to assist in the learning process at home with students who do not have a single book at home, have never held a pencil until kindergarten, who take care of younger siblings while their single parents works nights at McDonald’s, who are learning a second-language, and who are entering school on the first day with significantly fewer words than their middle-class peers. NCLB rewards wealthy districts, possibly works for middle-class districts, and cripples poor districts and unfortunately leaves the children it set out to save very far behind. In my state, learning shuts down in January and doesn’t resume until after testing season. When children have SO much to make up from starting with limited resources, both financial, personal, and cognitive, NCLB causes them to lose more than they gain.

  4. Many additional states will request waivers. This essentially ends the No Child Left Behind Act.

    The next steps should be the closure of the US Department of Education and the State Departments of Education, the elimination of the Praxis testing requirement and the hiring of talented educators.

    • The passing of a standardized test does not prove that you are a successful educator, school system, or are doing what is best for the youth of this country. The NCLB Act is a good start, but it has too many flaws.

    • While I’m not a fan of the money mill that makes up the national standardized tests, the Praxis tests are ridiculously simple. A person who can’t pass them is probably not going to be an effective teacher.

      • That is an appalling statement! These teacher you speak of are just the people to think out of the box and make education exciting and generalizable to day to day situations. We live in a world where it is easy to find the information… If you are taught how to do so. Nolonger are people expected to memorize facts… which in the long run is forgotten and no longer useful.

    • for sure.. educate the uneducated educators…. that might be a smart idea… that is what I am hoping that would come out… but they also need to follow the money..Louisiana… Loop hole city….

  5. To Secretary Arnold …The State of our children
    I am a retired educator who is still haunted by the staggering number of youth and families, I personally encountered, who were struggling with the repercussions of under funded and/or dysfunctional schools. I spent my first 2 years in a semi-rural Ohio public school classroom. This was where I first became sensitized to all the complexities associated with school failure. The next 15 years I worked as the Educational Diagnostician in an Ohio, “Separate Facility” School for ages 11-18. Virtually, all residents at this treatment facility, came to us from poor rural school districts or, mostly, from troubled inner-city metropolitan school districts. Here, I designed, created, implemented, and facilitated behavioral and diagnostic-prescriptive academic interventions for youth and teens placed into the residential program. The culminating experience of my career occurred in Columbus OH; where I spent 5 years, working as the Founding Director of a remediation/recovery Charter/Community school. In this school we created a school to meet the needs of our marginalized and underserved inner city youth, (grades 6-9; ages 12-18). I have grown concerned, in recent years, as it has become so fashionable to eschew our larger social responsibility towards those who find themselves born into difficult family circumstances. Perhaps those who have mustered a great deal of ideological zealotry about the unborn, might be encouraged to direct at least some of this fervor towards saving the same human potential that exists in every blastocyte, zygote and fetus as manifested within each child who is birthed. To stem this loss, I advocate for the commitment, hard work and social responsibility it would take for us all to come together and insure a 1st class level of education to every baby born in the United States. Such a birthright would go a long way toward ensuring an equal chance for every child to approach, if not, fulfill their God-given human potential

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