Partial Waiver of No Child Left Behind Granted to Alaska

Alaska was granted a one year waiver from the federal government on increasing student proficiency standards through the No Child Left Behind Act.

This means that the USDOE will allow the use of the 2010-2011 proficiency targets for calculating progress for the school year starting in September.

This freeze was granted to Alaska on the condition that Alaska commits to applying for a larger package of waivers by September 6th. This freeze makes it likely that Alaska will meet the United States Department of Education’s Annual Pregress Requirements according to Alaska Department of Education’s Eric Fry.The state is currently preparing its application for a comprehensive waiver which will use its own system of accountability for our schools.

With these targets, 75% of Alaska’s students must be proficient in math, while 83% must be proficient in English.

Fairbanks Representative Bob Miller released a statement upon hearingthe news. He said:

“Alaskans across the state have argued for years that the one-size-fits-all requirements in No Child Left Behind simply do not work for Alaska. The state’s efforts to set its own standards and take the opportunity to opt out of No Child Left Behind are working, and the federal government’s decision to grant the first part of our request is an encouraging step in Alaska’s efforts to maintain local control of our schools and our children’s education. I’m always looking for way to build consensus, and it’s been great to see the collaboration and hard work on this issue by school districts, individual educators, the Department of Education and members of the Legislature is starting to pay off.”

Legislation was introduced by Representative Miller this year encouraging the state to opt out of NCLB.