June 26, 2013

N.H. gets waiver on No Child Left Behind

The Associated Press

CONCORD, N.H. – U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has approved New Hampshire's request for a waiver freeing the state from some provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act, giving the state more flexibility in using a school accountability system.

State education officials made the request last year. At that time, then-Gov. John Lynch wrote Duncan, saying that New Hampshire school districts are increasingly hampered by inflexible provisions in the law.

Education officials said Under No Child Left Behind, about 75 percent of the state's schools would have been labeled as "failing" next year under proficiency requirements.

"I am encouraged by the innovative thinking and strong commitment to improving achievement for all students that is evident in New Hampshire's request," Duncan wrote Tuesday in a letter to state Education Commissioner Virginia Barry.

Duncan said New Hampshire has demonstrated that it has college- and career-ready expectations for all students and a high-quality plan to implement an accountability system.

Duncan said the state also is committed to developing and implementing teacher and principal evaluation and support systems that are devoted to student achievement and has assured that it will evaluate and revise administrative requirements to reduce duplication and unnecessary burden on districts and schools.

In 2011, Duncan's department offered states the chance to request flexibility from certain requirements of the law in exchange for rigorous and comprehensive plans designed to improve outcomes for students.

"New Hampshire is now free to pursue more effective and innovative ways to address the needs of all our students and prepare them for the jobs of the 21st century economy," Gov. Maggie Hassan said. "By receiving this waiver, New Hampshire will continue to protect its most underserved students, close achievement gaps, increase equity, and improve the quality of instruction while also pursuing needed comprehensive reforms and protecting local control."


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