U.S. Dept. of Education: N.J. waiver from NCLB approved

TRENTON – New Jersey’s application for a waiver from No Child Left Behind was approved by the U.S. Department of Education, the federal agency announced.

President Barack Obama will announce today that ten states that have agreed to implement bold reforms around standards and accountability will receive flexibility from the burdensome mandates of the federal education law known as No Child Left Behind, the federal department said.

In exchange for this flexibility, these states have agreed to raise standards, improve accountability, and undertake essential reforms to improve teacher effectiveness. The ten states approved for flexibility are Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.

The federal department said that in a White House announcement attended by state education officials, teachers, civil rights, and business leaders, the President will say that NCLB, which is five years overdue for a rewrite, is driving the wrong behaviors, from teaching to the test to federally determined, one-size-fits-all interventions. The President will call on Congress to work across the aisle to fix the law even as his administration offers solutions for states to help prepare all students for college and career readiness.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a release that current law drives down standards, weakens accountability, causes narrowing of the curriculum and labels too many schools as failing. Moreover, the law mandates unworkable remedies at the federal level instead of allowing local educators to make spending decisions.

“Rather than dictating educational decisions from Washington, we want state and local educators to decide how to best meet the individual needs of students,” said Duncan. U.S. Dept. of Education: N.J. waiver from NCLB approved