Free at last? We knew No Child Left Behind (NCLB) would leave No School Still Standing at the end of the day - and Washington (the other one) finally recognized that, too. Overwhelmingly test-focused, NCLB's requirements (all students must be proficient in math and reading by 2014) left many schools high and dry and unequipped to meet its unrealistic standards.
One by one, states have been granted waivers from this mandate by the U.S. Department of Education; today, Washington state was the latest to receive that waiver. Twenty-six states are now freed from meeting many requirements of controversial education law, and additional waivers are pending in 10 states and the District of Columbia.
To get the waiver, states must promise to show other ways its students and schools are improving. Schools also must link teacher evaluations to student test scores. The waiver will also give Washington state school districts more flexibility about how they spend federal dollars. In addition, Washington will need to show improvement in test scores for students who have had lower scores than average, such as those who qualify for free- or reduced-price meals.