After wavering on whether the state would be applying for a waiver from No Child Left Behind requirements, Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor told a roomful of educators he’s made up his mind.

“We are also seeking a waiver,” Pryor said during an education workshop convened by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy at Central Connecticut State University. The waiver, Pryor said, will “really paint a vision for our system.”

The U.S. Department of Education announced late last year that it would be providing some flexibility to the NCLB requirement that every student be proficient in reading and math in three school years. The trade-off 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.

Malloy immediately said he anticipated the state would seek relief from those looming deadlines and informed the USDOE the intention to apply. But Pryor a month later said it is “likely, but not yet determined” that Connecticut would seek a waiver.

By Thursday he had made up his mind. The state has until mid-February to submit its waiver application.

Eleven states have applied so far, including Massachusetts and New Jersey, where Pryor use to work.

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 said that most of the nation’s schools are not meeting the requirement benchmarks.

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Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

Jacqueline was CT Mirror’s Education and Housing Reporter, and an original member of the CT Mirror staff, joining shortly before our January 2010 launch. Her awards include the best-of-show Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists in 2019 for reporting on inadequate inmate health care, first-place for investigative reporting from the New England Newspaper and Press Association in 2020 for reporting on housing segregation, and two first-place awards from the National Education Writers Association in 2012. She was selected for a prestigious, year-long Propublica Local Reporting Network grant in 2019, exploring a range of affordable and low-income housing issues. Before joining CT Mirror, Jacqueline was a reporter, online editor and website developer for The Washington Post Co.’s Maryland newspaper chains. Jacqueline received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in public policy from Trinity College.

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