Understanding Connecticut’s Application for a Waiver from the No Child Left Behind Act

Back • Publication Date: April 23rd, 2012

Authors: Robert Cotto, Jr., M.Ed.

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After a decade of experience with the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), both Congress and the Obama administration have sought changes to the law. With action by Congress delayed, the Obama administration decided to utilize a provision of NCLB which gave the executive branch discretion to waive some of NCLB’s major components.

The Obama administration offered to waive certain requirements of NCLB for states that agreed to adopt certain policies similar to those required by the Race to the Top initiative. On February 28, the Connecticut State Department of Education submitted the final draft of its waiver request.  This brief provides an overview of the contents of the state's waiver application.  It focuses on Part II of the waiver proposal, which concerns the state’s management of school districts. Our comparison of NCLB and Connecticut waiver proposal provisions shows that many of the features of NCLB will remain in place even if a waiver is granted by the Obama administration, particularly the use of standardized testing to manage and evaluate schools and districts.