Delaware gets relief from ‘No Child Left Behind’ mandate

Delaware is one of eight states that will now get flexibility from key provisions of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.

U.S. Education Sec. Arne Duncan announced waivers for Delaware, Connecticut, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Rhode Island. Monday’s announcement brings the number of states with waivers to 19.

“To get this flexibility states must meet three core goals. First, they must be on track in adopting college and career ready standards, secondly, they must have a plan to strengthen elevate and support their teachers and principals, and finally they must create an accountability system to identify and focus resources on the lowest performing schools and the schools with the largest achievement gaps,” said Sec. Duncan.

Education officials say now is the time to reform and redesign the NCLB Act since requirements have become barriers to states. According to Roberto Rodriguez, special assistant to President Barack Obama for education, Congress is five years late in fixing NCLB.

“Our kids can’t afford to wait any longer. In order to achieve an economy built to last we must redesign our nations education system so it prepares them for college and successful careers,” said Rodriguez.

Duncan believes many of the new state-created accountability systems will capture more students at risk, including low-income students, students with disabilities, and English learners.

Both out-going Delaware Secretary of Education Lillian Lowery and in-coming Secretary Mark Murphy praised the move.  “The state now will be able to implement a plan designed by Delawareans to meet the needs of Delaware students,” Lowery said. “This plan gives us the flexibility.”

Delaware education officials put their request for an exemption to the federal government on line.

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