Mass. Seeks Waiver from 'No Child Left Behind'

Marion Herbert's picture
Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Massachusetts education board voted to seek a waiver from the requirements of No Child Left Behind, the federal law once championed by the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy but now viewed by the Obama administration and most states as an unrealistic measure of academic progress.

"The federal system demands perfection. It expects every school and district to get 100 percent of its students proficient," said Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester after the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted 8-0 on Tuesday to support the waiver request.

"Perfection is just not reasonable," he said.

Massachusetts is among some 40 states that have sought a waiver from No Child Left Behind or informed the U.S. Department of Education of their intention to do so.

The 2002 law required new testing requirements for students in the nation's public schools that receive federal funding and set a goal of having all children proficient in reading and math by 2014. It established a measuring tool, called "adequate yearly progress," or AYP, designed to show how student performance was improving on a year-to-year basis.

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