Most states to seek exception to education law

Posted Oct. 13, 2011, at 7:22 p.m.
Last modified Oct. 14, 2011, at 5:06 a.m.

WASHINGTON — A majority of states intend to take President Barack Obama up on his offer to let them get around unpopular requirements in the “No Child Left Behind” education law, the Education Department said Thursday.

Obama said last month he was frustrated that Congress didn’t act to change the law that he has said is flawed, so he was moving forward with an effort to let qualifying states circumvent it.

His plan allows states to scrap a key requirement that all children show they are proficient in reading and math by 2014. To qualify, the states must submit a plan showing how they will meet certain requirements such as enacting standards to prepare students for college and testing for those standards, and by making teachers and principals more accountable by setting guidelines on evaluations.

The Education Department says 37 states, including Maine, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, have notified the agency that they intend to submit a plan to get a waiver around the law. Seventeen states have said they will submit a plan by Nov. 14, which means it will be reviewed in December and could be enacted as soon as early next year.

While the opportunity to apply for a waiver was warmly received in many states, some officials see the requirements to get a waiver as intrusive or expensive to implement.

California, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas were among the states that didn’t file a notice of intention by a deadline Wednesday, although they still could apply for a waiver later.

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