Ohio is one of eight states that no longer have to meet all the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, but with a caveat.
More than a decade ago the No Child Left Behind Act ushered in a new era of education reform, including the requirement that all students be proficient in reading and math by 2014. Many states have fought for repeal, calling the law unrealistic. It remains in place but the Obama Administration has given states a way around some of the requirements, allowing states to apply for waivers.
US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says the waivers give states more control over their schools.
“Our goal with this waiver process have been frankly to get out of the way of states and districts and let them figure out what’s the best way to meet their educational needs. “
The waiver Ohio just got means it no longer has to meet that 100 percent proficiency goal. Instead, it can set what it sees as more realistic proficiency goals, target funds towards low performing schools, and create new assessment methods for teachers, principals, and schools.
State education officials are calling the waiver approval a “step forward,” but Washington is keeping Ohio on a short leash. Ohio’s waiver application was approved on a conditional basis. State lawmakers still have to hammer out the details of a new grading system by September 15th. If the federal Department of Education doesn’t approve, Ohio’s waiver expires after one year, and the state will once again be subject to the demands of No Child Left Behind.