Connecticut has won its bid for a waiver to the federal No Child Left Behind requirements, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced in a conference call with reporters Tuesday afternoon on his way to the state Capitol to meet with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

Connecticut joins 18 other states that have also received a waiver to the requirements, which includes that 100 percent of students be proficient in reading and math in three school years. Almost half of the schools in Connecticut this year failed to reach the NCLB benchmarks.

“These states are getting more flexibility with federal funds and relief from NCLB’s one-size-fits-all federal mandate,” Duncan said. The waivers were awarded to states that have plans to strengthen teachers and principals, keep accountability measures and have a college-career ready standards.

Eighteen additional state waiver requests are still under review, Duncan said.

Connecticut’s initial application includes an explanation of how the state will identify the lowest-performing schools and what models could be implemented to improve these schools. It does not mention how that impacts existing union contracts. The five-tier grading system for schools will be based off of the annual state standardized tests.

A lengthy explanation of the new evaluation system, and how it was developed, was also included in the application. It does not include how large a role standardized tests will play, a point of consternation for the group developing the teachers’ evaluations.

Many components of the education overhaul are also included in the waiver.

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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