The Education Dept. grants Arizona, Massachusetts, Missouri, Oregon, Rhode Island and Utah one-year flexibility extensions from certain provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB).
The latest extensions mean that Arizona and Oregon are off of “high-risk” status. Both states, along with Kansas and Washington, were warned last year that they could lose their waivers. In all four cases, the problems stemmed from the states’ plans for teacher evaluation. Since then, Washington has lost its waiver and must comply with NCLB.
There were extra conditions for some of the states. Massachusetts had sought to revise its waiver to allow districts to pick their own assessment this academic year. The state planned on giving districts a choice between the new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers tests or the traditional Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System tests. ED argued against the provision saying that NCLB requires everyone in the state to take the same test. But it gave the state until the next school year to decide on which test it will administer. But ED did give the state props, noting that Massachusetts recently won a federal special education grant to build a system to get parental feedback on state plans to redesign its district and school accountability report cards.
ED says that 29 states have now been approved for waiver extensions; 35 saw their waivers expire over the summer and they have all submitted requests to keep them. The department is still reviewing extension requests from Louisiana, New Jersey and New Mexico.