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State Waiver Plans: Much Work Still To Do, New Reports Say

The Center on Education Policy has released a pair of reports that indicate states have a lot of work to do as they apply for waivers under the No Child Left Behind Act and try to take the reins on school accountability.

One report indicates that only a few states actually have completed work that the U.S. Department of Education wants done in areas such as adopting and implementing college- and career-ready standards, developing a differentiated accountability system, beefing up teacher evaluations, and reducing administrative burdens on schools and districts . To get a waiver, states have to address these four areas of improvement in their applications.

Of 26 states that responded to a CEP survey and indicated they would apply for a waiver, only one state had completed its differentiated accountability system, one had finished its new teacher evaluation system, seven had adopted and implemented the new academic standards, and four had reduced administrative burdens. The rest were either "planning" or had efforts "underway."

And, when it comes to the waiver plans themselves, "several" of the 11 first-round applications contain "significant ambiguities that make it difficult to describe precisely how some of the proposed changes in accountability would apply in practice." That's according to a second report by CEP, which examines major accountability themes embedded in states' waiver plans.

So, at a minimum, it seems that the first round of states need to do a better job articulating their plans, if not further developing them.

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