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Five States Receive NCLB Waiver Renewals From the Education Department

Guest post by Andrew Ujifusa

The U.S. Department of Education announced Thursday that five states—Delaware, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and South Carolina—had their waivers from provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act approved, along with Puerto Rico.

However, only Rhode Island and South Carolina received the three-year extension that other states have previously gotten. Delaware, Massachusetts, and Oklahoma received only one-year extensions. Puerto Rico's waiver renewal is for three years. 

Last month, six states and the District of Columbia received three-year NCLB waiver renewals from the Education Department, and one state (New York) got a four-year extension on its waiver. That followed five other states that received "fast-track" waiver renewals in March.

As my coworker Alyson Klein pointed out last month, since these three-year renewals would last beyond the end of the Obama administration, it's unclear exactly what they'll mean for states when a new president takes over in 2017, or if Congress finalizes a deal to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, of which NCLB is the current version.

Remember, just because a state received a waiver renewal doesn't mean that its entire application got approved by the department. Despite getting a four-year extension, New York didn't get the kind of testing flexibility for English-language learners it wanted—that request was made based on a deal Florida cut with the department last December.

All 42 states, along with the District of Columbia, that received waivers during the first go-round have applied for these renewals. With the waiver renewals announced July 9, the number of those states still seeking waiver renewals drops to 25.

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