Will the state seek a waiver to federal education requirements?
It is “likely, but not yet determined” that Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor will seek a waiver from federal No Child Left Behind requirements.
That was the message Pryor relayed to State Board of Education members last week, despite the state having already informed the U.S. Department of Education they do intend to apply and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announcing he anticipates the state will seek relief from the looming deadlines.
The waivers will give school districts some reprieve from the requirement that 100 percent of their students be proficient in reading and math in three school years. The tradeoff will be that states show they meet certain conditions, such as imposing standards to better prepare students for college or employment and setting evaluation standards for teachers and administrators.
Results released in September by the state Department of Education showed 47 percent of the schools in the state did not meet the requirements of the law — a long way from the benchmarks the state department is required to meet. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has estimated that most of the nation’s schools are not meeting the requirement benchmarks.
Pryor said after the SBE meeting that he has a working group considering whether to apply before the mid-February deadline. Eleven states have applied so far, including neighboring Massachusetts and New Jersey, where Pryor use to work.
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