The New York Times reports that Barack Obama has lifted some crucial sanctions of the No Child Left Behind law from ten states, including Minnesota.
Minnesota, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Indiana, Colorado, and Oklahoma were all awarded waivers that freed them from the law's requirement that they bring all students to reading and math proficiency by 2014. 28 more states are applying for the next round of waivers. Applications for this second group are due at the end of the month.
The represent a new round of compromise surrounding the controversial Bush-era law, which has been long criticized by state education officials for containing impossibly high goals (such as the reading and math proficiency requirement) and encroaching on the states' rights to regulate education.
The ten states were given waivers in exchange for keeping to the Obama administration's education policies, a condition that holds schools to keeping up consistent improvement nationwide without No Child's overarching provisions.
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton is pleased with the waiver. As a former teacher he is highly critical of the No Child law.
"Under 'No Child Left Behind,' teachers have been forced to teach to tests, which do not accurately measure either individual student or school progress," he told the Star Tribune. "Students spend too many hours preparing for, practicing and taking the tests."