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Duncan: Common Standards Not Required for NCLB Waiver

We now have word from U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan that states don't have to adopt the common standards to get a waiver from the requirements of No Child Left Behind.

As my colleague Alyson Klein reports over at the Politics K-12 blog, Duncan clarified this issue during a C-SPAN taping. Duncan's says he's got big love for the common standards, but states don't have to share that love to get a bit of relief from NCLB. All they need to do is "verify" that they have high standards.

As Alyson points out, Duncan is well aware of the political risks of requiring states to adopt the common standards. Chief among those is fueling the perception that the federal government is imposing its curricular will on schools, which could unravel support even in states that have already adopted them.

It also would have been pretty tough for the department to have flat-out required states to adopt one particular set of standards because that could run afoul of rules about the federal government getting too involved in curriculum.

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