Update: No Child Left Behind Waivers

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August 16, 2013 The U.S. Department of Education has approved CORE's (California Office to Reform Education) waiver proposal from penalties for one year under the No Child Left Behind law for eight California school districts (Fresno Unified, Long Beach Unified, Los Angeles Unified, Oakland Unified, Sacramento City Unified, San Francisco Unified, Sanger Unified, and Santa Ana Unified) in exchange for locally developed plans to prepare all students for college and career, focus aid on the neediest students, and support effective teaching and leadership.

The federal accountability provisions of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) have strict consequences for districts and schools that fail to meet annual measurable achievement objectives. The U.S. Dept. of Education has allowed states to apply for waivers if they can demonstrate they have an equally or more robust alternative plan for ensuring that they have strong accountability and targets towards reducing achievement gaps and increasing students' learning outcomes. It is appealing for districts and states because it also makes available some federal Title 1 money from strict sanctions applications so funds can now be used for other purposes.

CORE (California Office to Reform Education) submitted a waiver proposal to the U.S. Department of Education and it was just approved. The CORE website has the executive summary and the full waiver petition.

During the initial year (2013-14), the U.S. Department of Education specified that no other LEA (charter or district) may join the waiver. For charter schools that are authorized by one of the eight participating districts, if they are non-autonomous dependent charter schools affiliated with the district then they may be part of the waiver in 2013-14, but autonomous independent charter schools are not included in the waiver but may be able to opt in later. CCSA will be analyzing the opportunities for charters to participate under this waiver and will provide more information as we gain greater clarity.