Last week, the U.S. Department of Education announced that eight more states were being granted waivers from some requirements of No Child Left Behind, which requires that 100 percent of students must be achieving proficiency in reading and math by 2014.
The federal government announced it would begin offering waivers last year. The law is due for reauthorization, but Congress has struggled to make any progress toward that.
The waivers announced last week were the second round granted. A third round of waivers is expected in the fall.
Pennsylvania has so far not applied.
Tim Eller, state education spokesman, said in an email last week that the department is considering the requirements of the waiver program to see if it is in line with Gov. Tom Corbett’s education agenda.
Last year, Eller said the department was concerned that states had to adopt the federal department’s education agenda in order to get a waiver. Those who apply have to agree to other reforms, such as changing teacher evaluations and adopting college- and career-ready standards.
Instead of applying for a waiver, Pennsylvania had requested federal approval to freeze “adequate yearly progress,” levels where they are, instead of raising the bar higher. (Adequate Yearly Progress is the measure of whether districts are making progress toward 100 percent proficiency in 2014. The targets rise each year.) But that request was rejected in mid-February, Eller said last week.
This story reports that Eller says the state has concerns about whether the federal government has the authority to offer the waivers.