Mass. May Apply To Waive NCLB Requirements

By Sarah Birnbaum

Aug. 23, 2011

BOSTON — Massachusetts may ask the federal government for a waiver of some of the requirements of the No Child Left Behind education law. Without the waiver, officials say a large number of Bay State schools would face sanctions.

Ciaralys Martinez, Myrical Bone and other students work on a math exercise at the Dever-McCormack K-8 School in Dorchester.  Massachusetts may apply to keep its public schools exempt from certain requirements in the No Child Left Behind law. (Jess Bidgood/WGBH)

The No Child Left Behind law requires schools to meet higher standards every year, and by 2014, it will require all students to pass the state test — or else their schools will face harsh penalties.

The Obama Administration announced recently it would grant waivers to states that could not meet the standards, and Massachusetts is considering applying.

State Education Secretary Paul Reville says without the waiver, nearly 1,000 schools in Massachusetts would be classified as failing, while only a small group of those schools actually deserve the penalties and intervention the law requires.

“In a number of these schools , these 1000 schools, that intensity of effort is not needed," Reville said. "Sure, all schools need to improve, but there are a relatively small number of schools that need urgent intervention, and we want to concentrate our resources on those schools."

Reville says the state will decide about whether to apply for the waiver next month.

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