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Attention States: NCLB Waiver Renewal Guidance Expected Soon

By the end of this month, states will likely know what kind of hoops they will have to jump through to get their No Child Left Behind Act waivers renewed.

That's according to a federal official speaking at a Title I conference recently, as chronicled by EdWeek freelancer Charles Edwards.

Edwards writes that Monique Chism, the director of the achievement and accountability office, said a guidance document that would spell out how the Education Department will conduct waiver renewals was undergoing final clearance by the Office of Management and Budget, the last big regulatory hurdle. That means states will likely go through the renewal process as early as January in what Chism said she hopes is a "light lift," according to the story.

The renewal process will include "data runs" on key indicators in states' waiver plans, along with results of the Education Department's monitoring process. Most waivers expire at the end of the 2013-14 school year. In all, 39 states plus the District of Columbia (and now eight districts in California) have these waivers.

Edwards' story indicates the Education Department won't just be rubber-stamping these. Chism said that states will be expected to update their plans, and even might need to make policy or legislative changes.

This is the most we've heard about the waiver renewal process from the Education Department. In fact, it appears to completely contradict what U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, in an exclusive interview with Education Week last week, said when asked about the waiver renewal process.

"It's early. We're starting to think about it," he said just days ago.

Practically the same day, Chism was telling an audience of Title I directors that the renewal guidelines were virtually complete and going through the final stage of federal clearance.

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