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California Mulls NCLB Tutoring Waiver

California may be one of just eight states without a statewide waiver from provision of the No Child Left Behind Act. But districts could get relief from one of the most onerous pieces of the NCLB law anyway, if the feds give the Golden State the green light on what may be its next ask: allowing California districts to offer their own tutoring services, should they so choose.

If the state decides to officially make the request, which seems likely since it's on the agenda for the state board meeting next month, districts would be allowed to offer tutoring to their own students. That means they would have more control over some $400 million in federal Title I money that right now is directed to private tutors who haven't been very effective, at least according to the state board.

There's precedent for this type of move. Chicago Public Schools got a similar waiver when now-U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was the superintendent. And districts in waiverless North Dakota have similar leeway. But the entire state of California is obviously much larger than either of them.

California has already gotten some of the same benefits of waiver states, such as the ability to essentially "pause" accountability by using Common Core State Standards field tests with all students during the 2014-15 school year, without having to clear the hurdles required of waiver states, such as tying teacher evaluation to test scores.

And if California did get permission to do its own tutoring, it would essentially shed yet another irksome aspect of NCLB, without having to jump through the Obama administration's waiver hoops. 

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