State Board of Education to consider NCLB waiver request

Missouri education officials are moving closer to submitting a voluntary waiver application to the U.S. Department of Education which, if approved, would provide state and local education leaders with flexibility in meeting requirements of No Child Left Behind.

An approved waiver would allow states to exchange certain federal NCLB requirements for comprehensive state-developed plans designed to improve educational outcomes for all students, according to Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education news release. Waivers approved in the first and second rounds could go into effect as early as the 2012-2013 school year.

The department has been sharing drafts publicly and soliciting feedback since December as revisions continue to be made to the application. The third draft, posted to its website Feb. 8 —

— currently is open for public review and comment. State education officials expect at least one more draft will be prepared before the application is presented to the State Board of Education at its next regular meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 21.

President Barack Obama announced today — Feb. 9 — that 10 of the 11 states that applied in the first round have now been approved. The administration is continuing to work closely with the 11th state that requested flexibility in the first round. Twenty-eight other states, including Missouri, have indicated their preliminary intent to seek waivers.

“We are pleased to see the U.S. Department of Education moving forward in approving nearly all the states that applied in the first round,” Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro stated in the release. “Our application will continue to be revised based on statewide feedback from the field and from other states’ applications, as appropriate. We are focusing on developing Missouri’s accountability system that serves to meet federal requirements.”