Pennsylvania Gets Its No Child Left Behind Act Waiver, Just in Time
Pennsylvania today became the 43nd waiver applicant to be approved by the U.S. Department of Education, just in time for the start of the 2013-14 school year.
That means 41 states, the District of Columbia, and eight California districts now have waivers under the NCLB law.
Pennsylvania was a longtime holdout—then-state education Secretary Ron Tomalis had decided to wait to apply for a waiver until after the 2012 presidential election. (He didn't want to apply and win a waiver only to have the rules change should a new president take office.) But in the last week or so, Pennsylvania was so confident of getting a waiver that it told districts it would be OK to stop paying for transportation for students in persistently low-performing schools who want to attend another school. (This was one of the sanctions that states wanted flexibility to get rid of.)
Illinois is still in waiver purgatory because its teacher-evaluation timeline—spelled out in state law—doesn't match up exactly with federal requirements. Even as federal officials have shown that they are open to moving timelines, Illinois isn't seeing any progress in getting its application approved, a state department spokesman told me.
Texas is also awaiting word.
As for the status of other states: Wyoming has decided to wait at least a year before submitting another application, while Iowa and California have pretty much had their applications rejected. North Dakota and Vermont also have withdrawn their requests. Two states have never applied: Montana and Nebraska.
To help you keep track of states' waiver status, check out the map below or click here: