The Education Dept. reverses ground and will restore Oklahoma’s authority to implement flexibility from certain provisions of No Child Left Behind, after the state certified that its new testing scheme would make students “college or career ready.”
The state was the second to lose its NCLB (a.k.a., the Elementary and Secondary Education Act) waiver after Washington state and it is the first state to reclaim a lost waiver. ED pulled the waiver after the state dropped the Common Core State Standards in favor of the state’s previous content standards, the Priority Academic Student Skills (PASS). In June, Oklahoma decided to implement PASS but the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education had not certified that the PASS standards would properly prepare students for college and career.
In October, the regents did certify PASS and the state presented the waiver request again to the ED, which approved it for the coming school year.
Higher, more rigorous academic standards help ensure that all students have the skills they need to succeed in college, career and life, the department said.
ED notes that 42 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico currently have ESEA flexibility, 34 of which expired this summer. Thirty-three states: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin and the District of Columbia have been granted extensions since July 3.
These one-year extensions expire at the end of the current school year, and the department is offering renewals to states that want to extend this flexibility and continue the progress they have seen in the last three years.