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3rd-Round Waiver Deadline Set, Short-Term NCLB Relief Offered

States that need more time to develop their proposal for a waiver under the No Child Left Behind Act can now request a one-year freeze in their annual achievement targets to keep the list of schools not making adequate yearly progress from growing.

The application to freeze AMOs (annual measurable objectives) is now available online from the U.S. Department of Education.

While more than two dozen states have indicated they intend to apply by the second-round Feb. 28 deadline, others have indicated they need more time. The department has set a third-round deadline of Sept. 6.

The one-year freeze in AMOs doesn't come cheap, though. There are several strings attached:

• States have to promise they will actually apply and be approved for a full-fledged waiver (or go back to abiding by NCLB).

• States must adopt college- and career-ready standards, either the common core variety or those certified by their higher education system.

• States must provide student growth data to math and reading teachers "in a manner that is timely and informs instructional programs." This is similar to what states are supposed to do anyway to comply with the State Fiscal Stablization Fund. (Remember that $48.6 billion state-bailout fund from the stimulus era?)

• States must report publicly on achievement gaps and graduation gaps between the "all students" group and each traditional NCLB subgroup of students.

If approved states will be able to use the same AMOs for determining AYP based on tests administered in the 2011-12 school year as they used for the previous year.

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