Ten states will no longer have to adhere to the nation’s main education law.
On Thursday, the Obama administration announced it would free Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Tennessee from the requirements of No Child Left Behind, a standards-based education reform plan signed into law by President Bush in 2002.
When No Child Left Behind was first proposed, it received overwhelming bipartisan support. But in recent years, its impacts have come under increasing scrutiny. On Thursday, Obama cited complaints of teachers and school administrators who say the law is outdated and punitive.
Although the District is not among these first 10 states, it hopes to be next. Or close to next.
Brandon Frazier, a spokesman for the D.C. Office of of the State Superintendent of Education, told The Post over the phone that the office was “firmly entrenched in the process” of applying for a waiver. You can see the waiver application here.
“We applaud President Obama ... for recognizing that it takes more than test scores to represent the actual progress happening in schools throughout the country,” State Superintendent Hosanna Mahaley said in a statement.
A total of 28 other states have also signaled they plan to seek waivers.
The waivers will be given to to states in exchange for promises their schools improve the way they teach and evaluate students.
The states must show they can better prepare their children for college and careers, develop better evaluation systems, set better targets for improving achievement among all students and, finally, better reward the best performing schools and work to improve the worst.
Jay Mathews, who has long covered education for The Post, particularly in the D.C. area, said the waivers will be a useful and positive experiment, provided states actually do what they’re supposed to.
“The danger of the waivers is that states can show less concern for schools that are dragging.” Mathews said. The administration “should not ease up the pressure on states to raise achievement for low income and minority kids, which is the best thing No Child Left Behind has done.”