Washington becomes first state to lose its waiver from No Child Left Behind


Gov. Jay Inslee (Rachel La Corte/AP)

Washington state lost its waiver from implementing certain parts of the No Child Left Behind education law, an action that could lead to layoffs and program cuts, Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement Thursday.

In a letter to the state superintendent, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said that he would not renew the waiver because the state had failed to implement promised changes to how it evaluates teachers and principals. The state is the first to lose its waiver.

In February 2012, the state committed to making student learning growth a substantial factor in those reviews. Last August, it was placed on high-risk status for failing to implement that and other changes, giving the state until May 1 to produce a plan. Because that would require a legislative change and Washington’s legislature won’t reconvene until next January, Duncan said the state would be losing its waiver.

“Washington has not been able to keep all of its commitments,” he said in the letter. “Thus, although Washington has benefitted from ESEA flexibility, I regret that Washington’s flexibility will end with the 2013–2014 school year.”

Inslee criticized lawmakers in his statement on the loss of the waiver, saying it “could have been avoided if the state legislature had acted last session.”

As a result, districts will lose flexibility on how to use nearly $40 million in federal funds, he said: “Loss of that funding means those districts now face potential impacts that could include laying off some of Washington’s tremendous teachers or cutting back on programs that serve at-risk students.”

Forty-three states, including Washington, were approved for waivers, according to an Education Department page last modified Tuesday.

Niraj Chokshi reports for GovBeat, The Post's state and local policy blog.
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