Official: MN Among 10 States To Get ‘No Child’ Waiver

WASHINGTON (AP/WCCO) — President Barack Obama on Thursday will free 10 states from the strict and sweeping requirements of the No Child Left Behind law, giving leeway to states that promise to improve how they prepare and evaluate students, The Associated Press has learned.

The first 10 states to receive the waivers are Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Tennessee. The only state that applied for the flexibility and did not get it, New Mexico, is working with the administration to get approval, a White House official told the AP.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the states had not yet been announced. A total of 28 other states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have signaled that they, too, plan to seek waivers — a sign of just how vast the law’s burdens have become as a big deadline nears.

The 10 states still must show they’re getting children ready for college and careers and setting new targets for improving achievement.

Education Professor Joe Nathan, director of the Center for School Change at Macalester College, said, “This is good news for the students, the schools and frankly for the taxpayers of Minnesota because we’re continuing to hold schools accountable but we’re adding some new features that I think are really critical.”

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Steve Murphy Reports

The new standards take effect in the fall.

No Child Left Behind requires all students to be proficient in reading and math by 2014. Obama’s action strips away that fundamental requirement for those approved for flexibility, provided they offer a viable plan instead. Under the deal, the states must show they will prepare children for college and careers, set new targets for improving achievement among all students, reward the best performing schools and focus help on the ones doing the worst.

In September, Obama called President George W. Bush’s most hyped domestic accomplishment an admirable but flawed effort that hurt students instead of helping them. He said action was necessary because Congress failed to update the law despite widespread bipartisan agreement that it needs fixing. Republicans have charged that by granting waivers, Obama was overreaching his authority.

The executive action by Obama is one of his most prominent in an ongoing campaign to act on his own where Congress is rebuffing him. No Child Left Behind was primarily designed to help the nation’s poor and minority children and was passed a decade ago with widespread bipartisan support. It has been up for renewal since 2007. But lawmakers have been stymied for years by competing priorities, disagreements over how much of a federal role there should be in schools and, in the recent Congress, partisan gridlock.

For all the cheers that states may have about the changes, the move also reflects the sobering reality that the United States is not close to the law’s original goal: getting children to grade level in reading and math.

Critics today say the 2014 deadline was unrealistic, the law is too rigid and led to teaching to the test, and too many schools feel they are labeled as “failures.” Under No Child Left Behind, schools that don’t meet requirements for two years or longer face increasingly tough consequences, including busing children to higher-performing schools, offering tutoring and replacing staff.

As the deadline approaches, more schools are failing to meet requirements under the law, with nearly half not doing so last year, according to the Center on Education Policy. Center officials said that’s because some states today have harder tests or have high numbers of immigrant and low-income children, but it’s also because the law requires states to raise the bar each year for how many children must pass the test.

In states granted a waiver, students will still be tested annually. But starting this fall, schools in those states will no longer face the same prescriptive actions spelled out under No Child Left Behind. A school’s performance will also probably be labeled differently.

The pressure will probably still be on the lowest-performing schools in states granted a waiver, but mediocre schools that aren’t failing will probably see the most changes because they will feel less pressure and have more flexibility in how they spend federal dollars, said Michael Petrilli, vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, an education think tank.

While the president’s action marks a change in education policy in America, the reach is limited. The populous states of Pennsylvania, Texas and California are among those that have not said they will seek a waiver, although they could still do so later.

On Tuesday, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said states without a waiver will be held to the standards of No Child Left Behind because “it’s the law of the land.”

Some conservatives viewed Obama’s plan not as giving more flexibility to states, but as imposing his vision on them. Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., who chairs the House Education and the Workforce Committee, said Thursday that, “This notion that Congress is sort of an impediment to be bypassed, I find very, very troubling in many, many ways.”

Duncan maintained this week that the administration “desperately” wants Congress to fix the law.

In an election year in a divided Congress, that appears unlikely to happen.

Kline, speaking at an event at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, said that in the House there was some bipartisan agreement on how to fix No Child Left Behind, but in many areas there was disagreement. Later, he released Republican-written legislation that he said seeks to restore states’ authority in education.


“The administration’s waiver scheme provides just enough temporary relief to quiet the demand for lasting reform,” Kline said in a statement. “Rest assured, my colleagues and I on the House Education and the Workforce Committee haven’t lost our sense of urgency.”


California Rep. George Miller, the committee’s senior Democrat, has said such partisanship “means the end” to No Child Left Behind reform in this Congress. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who chairs the Senate committee on education, has said he believes it “would be difficult to find a path forward” without a bipartisan bill in the House.


A Senate committee last fall passed a bipartisan bill to update the law. The administration expressed concerns with it, and it did not go before the full Senate for a vote.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Union Thug

    Thank goodness. Now I don’t have to make an effort and can leave children behind.

    Long live the unions!

    • Irv

      This has nothing to do with unions or political parties. It has to do with a law that was not thought through. Do you people understand that NCLB cost the state of MN more than all of the fedreal money we got to implement it? Thats right. we spend more on it than we get. #2 Do you realize we don’t test the same kid from one year to the next. We test all 8th graders in reading and math, great. Now next year we test a completely different group of 8th graders to see if we have imporved. Doesn’t matter that they’re not the same kids, we just want to see improvement. Anyone who has kids can tell you that they are not all the when it comes to learning ability. Lastly, we have to have 2% improvement every year or we are labled underperforming. So when we reach 99% guess what, we will be underperforming because we can’t go up.
      That is the way the law was written. It failed in Texas yet we made it a national law because, who wants to leave a child behind.

      • tan pup

        Oh, and don’t forget, you don’t want to improve too much because then the next year it looks like you are failing because you didnt’ improve enough. It’s a lose lose situation brought on by people who never have stepped foot in a classroom, have nannies raising their kids, are in the top 1% and want to see the schools fail so they can get re-elected on the same platform every year.

        • White Cat

          Did you ever attend school? Based on your written communication skills, it doesn’t look like you ever stepped foot in a school.

          • Blue Bied

            Tan makes sense, was your development arrested?

      • Bryon

        I would disagree. This has everything to do with unions and politics. The unions cant do their jobs that they are being paid for. The president released these states from NCLB during a campaign year. Makes you wonder if he buying votes because that is the only way he would get re-elected.

    • Union Thug

      As long as I keep my luxurious benefits and retirement package, I don’t care about any program that requires me to do my job.

  • Peace

    Why should we want our children to get a good education. Darn Republicans trying to make our kids smart. Let’s keep them dumb so they vote Deomocrat….Obama is smarter than you think.

    • Zoe Mains

      And I see that slavishly watching Faux News has worked so well for you. Like most of those people, you have trouble spelling and putting together coherent sentences.

      • Grammar Police

        Speaking of coherent sentences, your first sentence is incorrect.

        You obviously went to a public school

  • G Dog

    Read the Law. It’s the biggest joke since the “Patriot Act”. And good riddance …

  • luvs

    Teach to the kids, not to the test.

    • Larry

      The tests measure things like the ability to read and do math.

      They SHOULD teach to the test because then children would learn to read and do math.


      • Bobbie

        Minnesota does teach to the test. They are testing each student three times this year in math, so for the next 6 to 8 weeks it is “teach to the test” for Minnesota. What does this prove?

        • crying

          It proves that our schools have enough money. It proves that the teachers either can’t do it, or our kids are no smart enough. Why can’t we pass? Because parents and teachers always look for the easy way out. Don’t let me little Timmy fail, it will damage him for life.. Booohooooo.

          • konjokris

            Well I have a kid in private school, the best education in the state. He has a learning disability that was holding him back. I didn’t have a clue, I just knew he hated school and was acting out. He was afforded tutors and extra help that I could never put a financial amount on. He lacked confidence and wasn’t doing well. I quit my career as a flight attendant so I could be home with him and support him, it wasn’t until my mother took him to Learning Rx in October 2011 to get tested and we found out what was really going on. She has sacrificed a lot to pay for him to have the training he needs and he is getting A’s and B’s now. The point I am making is my son has parents and a grandma that was there for him and pressed to find out what was going on, not everyone is as lucky as I am. I am not rich by any stretch of the imagination, I am a single mom working in Human Services struggling to get by. If my son went to public school I know he would be left behind, even with help from my mom. Some parents just don’t know what to do, or haven’t the tools to see. Teachers have a tough job and need a break.

  • jfscsd

    i want my money back… the money i paid in taxes for public education has gone done the union waste tube.. I want my money back..

    • Tom

      @ jfscsd

      There are two people called the parents who have just as do with the edu system than just the teachers and schools.

      • whocares

        I am neither party but I have to agree Parents leave it up to the schools to teach the kids but when a teacher or school teaches something they don’t like. Than they want to get involved and scream. Parents need to quit being lazy and get more involved with their kids education. Learning begins at home.

    • truth hurts

      Typical GOP blame the workers without stating any real facts and claim it’s your money and let’s all be be greedy.

      • dont care

        Dumb as hears the fact it is my tax dollars that pay for the EDU system and yours to. I don’t care what party you like and vote if you let a group run with a blank check it going to cost all of us. All you here is “if we don’t get our money we will close a school or lay of police officers or fire fighters.” What about stop stupid spending on wishful projects.

    • Bryon

      I agree our taxes pay for unions to teach our students in the public school system yet our kids are not gaining an education.

      • Buddy Bryon

        All GOPs send their kids to private school or home schools them because they have the cash. Don’t tell me you’re a poor DFLer that has use public schools.

  • Tom

    I notice that both sides said the law had its flaws and needed to go, but since Obama beat everybody to the punch the GOP are accusing him of over reaching.

  • G Dog

    @ Union Thug, Peace and jfcsd:

    If ignorance is bliss, you’ve got to be the happiest people in the world.

    • G Dog

      Publik skools teech me good.

  • Bubba

    That law was never funded properly, so school districts has to raid their funds to pay for it. Leading to larger class sizes. Plus, name me one facet of life where everyone is going to succeed. Impossible! That said, all schools are trying to further the education of today’s youth.

  • Kris Sandford

    The waiver should save enough money while allowing our kids to fail. Perhaps we will not have to spend increased tax money on education.

  • I see idiots

    They are everywhere.

  • Frank Lee

    kids …most certainly…just need to be kids ,too! …turning them into droid phone heads,instead of getting close to mother earth,and learning the REAL important things in life,and how to live

  • G Dog

    37th? Did you just make that up, Kev? Minnesota schools are recognized as the best in the nation. Every year we are either 1st or 2nd in ACT and SAT scores. We’re in the top 5 for graduation rates.

    I think I know where you got your figure. Minnesota used to be in the top 10 of school funding and thanks to the private school loving Republicans, we probably have dropped to 37th in school funding.

  • Jeff

    The dumbing down of America continues.

  • what!?!

    As a proud husband of a 4th grade teacher – THIS IS A GOOD THING! .. Allot of people on here spouting off about this with out even having the slightest clue as to what this means. They see Obama and say “nah this sucks then”. Go read the contents of this act. This was the worst thing that could ever happen to kids. If you are republican you should rejoice. This means the government is getting out of the education business somewhat.. . Teach the kids the write way and give them something solid to build off of instead of just teaching them how to pass a stupid test to satisfy the bean counters out there..

    • Zoe Mains

      My God you’re dumb. It’s spelled “you’re”, idiot. And you obviously didn’t pay attention to the hard-working teachers when you went to school, since you can’t spell, don’t know grammar, and are one of the most stupid morons ever.

    • BS

      Oh and your wife asked me to ask you…if you could bring home some bread and butter….at least that what I thought she said…..hard to talk with your mouth full….funny…she says she is always able to talk to you…….

    • Kevin

      As a proud tax payer who pays your wifes salary….I say YOUR A MORON! My god you sackless wonder….read your comment above! What Obami camp did you march out from? For the love of God….I have never read anything as stupid as this! A typical liberal sackless wonder. They attack…..tell you to go read what they have not….then tell you to rejoice their views….then say that taking tests are stupid….I just always thought that the current educational system was based on tests and scores to advance……even the ACT is a test….but see in the sackless liberal world….only certain tests are bad…and they know the “write” way to teach your children on a solid foundation…and who needs bean counters (accountability)……wow…im off to rejoice now

    • Kevin

      ST. PAUL (WCCO) — Minnesota’s ranked 36th in overall education for grades K-12. That’s according to Education Week magazine and their annual Quality Counts report.

      Tell your wife “Great Job”….oh and please tell her to continue to fail the children…while sucking every tax dollar she can possibly get….Accountability? Who needs it

  • what!?!

    dumbest thing i have read so far! wow you set the “I’m stupid” bar pretty high with this one..

  • Bubba

    In what other profession…
    by David Reber

    I’m going to step out of my usual third-person writing voice for a moment. As a parent I received a letter last week from the Kansas State Board of Education, informing me that my children’s school district had been placed on “improvement” status for failing to meet “adequate yearly progress” under the No Child Left Behind law.

    I thought it ironic that our schools were judged inadequate by people who haven’t set foot in them, so I wrote a letter to my local newspaper. Predictably, my letter elicited a deluge of comments in the paper’s online forum. Many remarks came from armchair educators and anti-teacher, anti-public school evangelists quick to discredit anything I had to say under the rationale of “he’s a teacher.” What could a teacher possibly know about education?

    Countless arguments used to denigrate public school teachers begin with the phrase “in what other profession….” and conclude with practically anything the anti-teacher pundits find offensive about public education. Due process and collective bargaining are favorite targets, as are the erroneous but tightly held beliefs that teachers are under-worked, over-paid (earning million-dollar pensions), and not accountable for anything.

    In what other profession, indeed.

    In what other profession are the licensed professionals considered the LEAST knowledgeable about the job? You seldom if ever hear “that guy couldn’t possibly know a thing about law enforcement – he’s a police officer”, or “she can’t be trusted talking about fire safety – she’s a firefighter.”

    In what other profession is experience viewed as a liability rather than an asset? You won’t find a contractor advertising “choose me – I’ve never done this before”, and your doctor won’t recommend a surgeon on the basis of her “having very little experience with the procedure”.

    In what other profession is the desire for competitive salary viewed as proof of callous indifference towards the job? You won’t hear many say “that lawyer charges a lot of money, she obviously doesn’t care about her clients”, or “that coach earns millions – clearly he doesn’t care about the team.”

    But look around. You’ll find droves of armchair educators who summarily dismiss any statement about education when it comes from a teacher. Likewise, it’s easy to find politicians, pundits, and profiteers who refer to our veteran teachers as ineffective, overpriced “dead wood”. Only the rookies could possibly be any good, or worth the food-stamp-eligible starting salaries we pay them.

    And if teachers dare ask for a raise, this is taken by many as clear evidence that teachers don’t give a porcupine’s posterior about kids. In fact, some say if teachers really cared about their students they would insist on earning LESS money.

    If that entire attitude weren’t bad enough, what other profession is legally held to PERFECTION by 2014? Are police required to eliminate all crime? Are firefighters required to eliminate all fires? Are doctors required to cure all patients? Are lawyers required to win all cases? Are coaches required to win all games? Of course they aren’t.

    For no other profession do so many outsiders refuse to accept the realities of an imperfect world. Crime happens. Fire happens. Illness happens. As for lawyers and coaches, where there’s a winner there must also be a loser. People accept all these realities, until they apply to public education.

    If a poverty-stricken, drug-addled meth-cooker burns down his house, suffers third degree burns, and then goes to jail; we don’t blame the police, fire department, doctors, and defense attorneys for his predicament. But if that kid doesn’t graduate high school, it’s clearly the teacher’s fault.

    And if someone – anyone – tries to tell you otherwise; don’t listen. He must be a teacher.,

    • tan pup


    • Brett

      uWaaaa……uWaaaaaa…..uWWAAaaaaaaaa. I don’t see everybody SOLELY blaming the teachers. Horrible parents are equally to blame, if not MORE SO, for they have the kids for more hours a day than the teachers do. Teachers, judges, police should be allowed to visit and enter the home of a FAILING student, without a WARRANT, to see what the heck is going on. Bring the dope-sniffing dogs, TOO.

    • konjokris


  • Zoe Mains

    Ding ding ding ding! You win for the stupidest and most racist comment on this site in the last 10 years.

  • smallGOVneverworks

    No Child Left Behind = FAILED. Just like GOP Laws = FAILED. Just like TEBOW = FAILED. Just like TEBOWING = FAILED. JUST like GOPs = FAILED!!!!

    • Brett

      You fail or succeed based upon YOUR own beliefs, abilities, and ethics/morals. THAT is the true definition of LIBERTY and FREEDOM. Big government is the antithesis of that. If you don’t like being controlled or told what to do, then don’t vote LIBERAL. NOTHING, in the course of human history, has EVER guaranteed anyone a long, wealthy, healthy life.

  • Not from here

    I moved here recently and the people here including you Zoe are stupid. Now you rejoice as the children and people become even more stupid. Like the rest of the comments you are too stupid to recognize the fact because you’re (spelled correctly) stupid too….

    Pace yourself, soon you will achieve 50th in the country. What a goal in life. But that is MN… State motto: Strive for stupidity!

  • Kevin

    ST. PAUL (WCCO) — Minnesota’s ranked 36th in overall education for grades K-12. That’s according to Education Week magazine and their annual Quality Counts report.

    Tell your wife “Great Job”….oh and please tell her to continue to fail the children…while sucking every tax dollar she can possibly get….Accountability? Who needs it……..

  • Kevin

    As a proud tax payer who pays your wifes salary….I say YOUR A MORON! My god you sackless wonder….read your comment above! What Obami camp did you march out from? For the love of God….I have never read anything as stupid as this! A typical liberal sackless wonder. They attack…..tell you to go read what they have not….then tell you to rejoice their views….then say that taking tests are stupid….I just always thought that the current educational system was based on tests and scores to advance……even the ACT is a test….but see in the sackless liberal world….only certain tests are bad…and they know the “write” way to teach your children on a solid foundation…and who needs bean counters (accountability)……wow…im off to rejoice now….

    • Best3800

      When I go to the dictionary and look up conservative, republican, tea bagger,why does the name Kevin pop up?

  • Bill Clintons Cigar

    Shut down all public schools. Make all schools private and parent paid, not tax payer paid. Then I would care less.

    • konjokris


  • Oater

    Just shows both partys, however well intensioned, cannot keep out of what should be a state and district controlled process. If the feds want to send money without strings, which they never will, fine but decisions on education are best made locally between teachers, parents, and state officials.

  • Journeyone

    NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND. We all know the schools pushed kids thru school and even put them on the honor roll when they can’t read and write. IT proved our schools were rating HIGH so we could get all these tax dollars for doing a good job. No— they are not doing a good job. Good bye NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND. And quit letting kids quit school at 16 – Oh wait that quit with NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND becuz it was such an excellent program!

  • pat

    Fire half of the teachers. Hire new, young teachers out of college.
    Get rid of the lazy, old, pathetic, teachers waiting to hit the rule of 90.
    Thanks union, if you would fire some of these bad teachers, you wouldn’t have such a bad rap.

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