Ohio is the latest state to seek to withdraw from the No Child Left Behind Act, and will send the Obama administration its waiver request by Feb. 28. The state's Department of Education will require schools show improvement among all students, regardless of race or family wealth, the Columbus Dispatch
reports, instead of following the federal mandate that 100 percent of students be proficient on standard math and reading exams by 2014.
The 2001 No Child Left Behind law, which was President George W. Bush administration’s education centerpiece, has been up for renewal since 2007. Since Congress has not agreed on how to update it, Obama invited states to opt out of 11 major provisions in the federal law and submit their own plans for improving schools. Eleven states have already received waivers.
Ohio wants out of all 11 provisions, and officials say Ohio’s new plan increases expectations for the state’s students. For example, under the state’s proposed plan, students will no longer be offered transfers to better schools or free tutoring if their schools fail to improve enough in math or reading.
Meanwhile, schools will be judged on the progress they make to close the “achievement gap,” the difference in academic performance between students of different races and backgrounds.
In Ohio, more than 89 percent of white students statewide earned diplomas in 2010, the most recent year for which statistics were available. However, the graduation rate dropped to 65.3 for black students and 62.7 for Latinos.
Ohio is already revising standardized tests to fit with guidelines being adopted nationwide. If the Obama administration approves Ohio’s waiver, the state will also disband a tutoring program, which has faced state and federal allegations of fraud over the years, and use the federal money saved to pay for longer school days or even longer school years.
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