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After Several Month Wait Idaho Gets Waiver From Federal Education Law


Idaho now has a waiver from the federal government to opt out of the No Child Left Behind education law. That means Idaho schools will be evaluated on the new five star system the state developed instead of the pass or fail one in place for the last decade.

Idaho’s school superintendent Tom Luna says this is a great day for Idaho. “Through Idaho’s new accountability system, we can use multiple measures, including academic growth, to better evaluate how schools are performing statewide,” says Luna. “We will use this data to recognize our excellent schools and provide intensive technical assistance to schools that are struggling.”

Idaho applied for the waiver in February but some back forth between the State and Federal Departments of Education delayed the approval. Thirty three states have already received waivers and have begun to implement rating systems they designed. U. S. secretary of Education Arne Duncan calls the waiver program a bipartisan movement toward education reform.  

“With the addition of Idaho, a growing number of states nationwide are receiving much-needed flexibility from No Child Left Behind,” Duncan says. “More than a million students are now captured by states’ new accountability systems, and we continue to see impressive reform plans from the local level [that] will drive student achievement and ensure that all students are ready for college and their careers.”

Idaho expected to get the waiver sometime this fall so went ahead and assigned all schools one, two, three, four or five stars. Those ratings are not official quite yet. Idaho’s State Board of Education still has to approve the waiver. That’s because the state Department of Ed made changes to the plan the board had approved. That’s part of the reason the waiver was delayed. Idaho’s Board of Education meets in Lewiston Thursday. It is expected to vote to approve the waiver. 

Update: Thursday afternoon Idaho’s State Board of Education voted unanimously to approve the waiver which allows Idaho to opt out of the No Child Left Behind law.

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