UPDATED JULY 6
Today, the U.S. Department of Education announced five more waiver winning states – Arkansas, Missouri, South Dakota, Utah, and Virginia - bringing the total number of states operating their own school accountability systems in lieu of NCLB to twenty four.
With nearly half of states on the waiver train, it’s a good time to pause and take stock of how things stand:
- 11 states (all of the first-round applicants) were approved in February: Colorado, Georgia, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Tennessee
- 8 states (of the 27 second-round applicants) were approved in May: Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Rhode Island
- 5 states (of the 27 second-round applicants) have been approved in June so far: Arkansas, Missouri, South Dakota, Utah, and Virginia.
- 12 states (of the 27 second-round applicants) are waiting for approval: Arizona, Washington DC, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, Oregon, South Carolina, Washington, and Wisconsin.
There are also a few “special” cases. Vermont submitted a second-round request, only to revoke it when the Department made it clear the application would not be approved in its current form. For one thing, the state was hoping to transition to an every-other-year testing cycle – with local tests administered on the off years. And Iowa’s request was rejected (for the time being) based on state legislation inhibiting the implementation of a new teacher evaluation system. Iowa has now requested a one-year freeze on its accountability performance targets. Montana won’t be applying at all. And in perhaps the boldest move, California has submitted its own unique waiver application – which completely omits some of the key reforms, namely, teacher and principal evaluations, the Department is requiring of all other applicants. On the positive side, their request is only nine pages and easy to read (compared the average 388 pages of all the other second round requests).
Stay tuned to the Waiver Wire for additional analysis of the twenty four winning states – and any that join them in the coming weeks.
Update: With the announcement that Washington and Wisconsin have been approved, 26 states will now operate their own accountability and school improvement systems, rather than NCLB. Seven states (Alabama, Alaska, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, and West Virginia) have also been approved by the Department of Education to temporarily freeze their AMOs for one year.