Mass. Education Officials May Seek No Child Left Behind Waiver

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Massachusetts may eventually abandon part of the education standards set by the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

State education officials are considering seeking a waiver that would release Massachusetts from the 100 percent proficiency rule imposed by the federal education act, which requires that all students demonstrate good command of grade-level subjects on state exams by 2014.

"The criticism of this portion of No Child Left Behind is almost universal," Paul Reville, state secretary of education, told Morning Edition's Bob Oakes. "The notion that 100 percent proficiency can be achieved in a set period of time by ratcheting it up in even intervals year by year has been widely discredited."

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has not indicated when a waiver from the federal policy might be available.

"There has been a lot of talk over the summer from Secretary Duncan that he intends to make waivers to states available," Reville said. "We've indicated that we'll look at any waiver option that comes up and give some serious thought to it, but we've made no determination as yet."

Reville said specific aspects of the law need "revision and updating," but the state doesn't object to the general principles of the law.

"I think there are aspects of No Child Left Behind that work very well ... the requirement that all students set standards, the requirement that those standards be measured regularly and that you break down and look at the progress of individual groups," Reville said. "I think some of the specific tools that the law uses were flawed."

This program aired on August 22, 2011.

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Bob Oakes Senior Correspondent
Bob Oakes was a senior correspondent in the WBUR newsroom, a role he took on in 2021 after nearly three decades hosting WBUR's Morning Edition.



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