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Pennsylvania, Texas, Wyoming Apply for NCLB Waivers

Three more states, including two with large student populations, have applied for waivers under the No Child Left Behind Act.

Longtime holdouts Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wyoming made the Feb. 28 deadline for the fourth—and possibly the last—waiver application window with the U.S. Department of Education.

Frankly, I can't wait to read Texas' application. The Lone Star State, which has shunned most federal education initiatives, had indicated it would apply for a waiver without agreeing to a lot of the strings U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was requiring. (Waiver strings include that states adopt college- and career-ready standards—and the easiest way to do that is through the Common Core State Standards, which Texas hasn't adopted.)

California tried its own independent approach, and it was rejected by the federal department. (Iowa's application was also denied over problems with teacher and principal evaluations.)

Pennsylvania had been waiting for the outcome of the presidential election, and any signal that ESEA might be reauthorized, before applying. (A fairly logical decision, given that a new president might have totally upended the waiver and reauthorization process anyway.)

This leaves just three states that are sitting out the process altogether: Montana, Nebraska, and Vermont (which withdrew its request).

Eleven states still have applications pending, while 34 states plus the District of Columbia have won waivers.

Between Texas' application and the 10 California districts that also applied yesterday for their own customized waiver, the fourth round should be a very interesting one to watch.

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