Concerns, praise over Minn.'s NCLB waiverby Tim Pugmire, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Federal education officials are granting waivers to 10 states, including Minnesota, from the current requirements of the No Child Left behind Law.
The waivers were announced Thursday in Washington. The law calls for all students to be proficient in reading and math by 2014. But now, Minnesota will have its own, more flexible plan to measure student performance and to hold school accountable for results.
Rep. Sondra Erickson, R-Princeton, who chairs the House Education Reform Committee, said she views the waiver as a work in progress. Erickson said she has concerns with the plan for helping struggling schools.
"It still is not as high a standard as I would expect, and not as relevant to the needs that these students have," Erickson said.
Erickson said she's working on an alternative waiver plan.
DFL Gov. Mark Dayton described the waiver as a major step toward real reform in education. He said Minnesota can now do better than the one-size-fits-all federal model.
Tom Dooher, the president of the state teachers' union Education Minnesota, called the waiver "good news for Minnesota."
"We will no longer label our schools as failures based on the misguided criteria of No Child Left Behind," he said in a written statement. "Instead we will switch to more realistic assessments based on multiple measures."
Some conservatives viewed the waivers not as giving more flexibility to states, but as imposing President Obama's 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."
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)