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Louisiana's Waiver Renewed But Put on High Risk

Good news for Louisiana: The state can keep its waiver from many of the mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act for another school year.

Bad news for Louisiana: The state is officially in danger of losing its waiver—in other words, it's on high-risk status—because its timelines to administer English-language proficiency tests and alternate assessments for students with very serious cognitive disabilities don't match up with the waivers. The state has a workable plan in place for general assessments, but not those special (but important) tests. Louisiana has promised it will cook up and submit a plan for alternative and English tests for the 2016-17 school year by this coming spring.

Louisiana's waiver danger isn't the only interesting thing going on with education in the Pelican State. The state chief, John White, has been locked in a battle over the Common Core State Standards with governor-turned-presidential candidate Bobby Jindal, a Republican, for more than a year. (Check out Andrew's take on that swamp fight.)

For those keeping score at home, Louisiana joins two other states in the high-risk club: Texas and South Dakota, both of which had problems with teacher evaluation. (Both states are also protesting the high-risk designation.)

At this point, nearly every state that applied for a waiver renewal has been granted flexibility from NCLB. The lone hold-out is Colorado, which has asked the department for flexibility on testing English-language Learners and other big changes.

The waiver comes as lawmakers in Congress are scurrying to finish an NCLB rewrite bill that would make the Obama administration's flexibility irrelevant. Stay tuned on that.

In the meantime, here's a handy waiver map (you can view an interactive version here.)

Waiver map LA.PNG

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