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Monday, August 8, 2011

States seek to avoid No Child Left Behind

from the St. Petersburg Times Gradebook

by Jeff Solochek

While Congress remains stalled on renewing No Child Left Behind, a growing number of states are looking to get out from under its thumb.

Tennessee is the latest one to ask for a waiver, after learning that many of its schools continue to miss adequate yearly progress marks, the Tennessean reports. State officials say they want to use new state-generated standards crafted through Race to the Top instead.

And they're not alone. reports that four other states — Kansas, Kentucky, Arkansas and Michigan — also have requested waivers, while still more, including Idaho and Utah, have worked to get around the federal standard without a formal waiver.

Florida leaders have for years noted that there's a disconnect between the state's local school grading system and the federal one, with decreasing numbers making AYP even as the amount of schools earning good grades rises. They've said they're working with the feds, too, to smooth over the differences.

But with states still relying on federal money to make ends meet, just how far can they stray from federal rules? And what's to stop a return to the past practices where one state had much more rigorous standards than the next?

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