The decision brings to 26 the number of states granted waivers as Congress remains at a stalemate regarding an overhaul to former President George W. Bush’s signature accomplishment.
With more than half of the states now free from many of the law’s requirements, there are questions about the future of No Child Left Behind. The 10-year-old federal law requires all students to achieve proficient math and reading scores by 2014, a goal that many educators say is impossible.
The Education Department began granting the waivers in February in exchange for promises from states to improve how they prepare and evaluate students. The Obama administration says the waivers are a temporary measure while Education Secretary Arne Duncan continues to work with Congress to rewrite the law.
Washington state schools chief Randy Dorn says the waiver will lift the requirement that all students pass both the state reading and math tests by 2014. It will also give Washington school districts more flexibility about how they spend some federal dollars.
In return, Washington will need to show improvement in test scores for subgroups of students who have historically had lower scores than average, such as those who qualify for free- or reduced-price meals. (AP)