New York is among the states holding off on deciding whether to seek relief from the burdens of the No Child Left behind law.
After falling short in its bid to get Congress to rewrite the law, the Obama administration announced the waiver policy on Monday, saying that it would release states from some of NCLB’s regulations if they committed to other reforms. What those reforms must be won’t be announced until September, but education officials in some states have already said they would apply for waivers.
That’s not the case in New York, where state officials say they will wait for further indication from the federal government about what strings would be attached to those waivers.
“What we have heard thus far about the waiver program is encouraging, but we do not yet have its specifics,” a spokesperson for the State Education Department wrote in an email. “Once these are available, we will review the plan carefully to ensure that it is well aligned with the Regents reforms and then make a decision about participation.”
That could make a waiver easy for New York to obtain, if it chooses to apply: The state is already in the process of rolling out Common Core standards. In New York City, teachers at every school will get training on the Common Core for a day before school starts next month.
Whether New York ultimately seeks a waiver could be a political decision, according to Jeffrey Henig, a professor of education at Columbia University’s Teachers College. ”Will it be seen as ‘giving up’?” he said.
But Henig wrote in an email that state officials would also likely weigh whether “getting the waiver would free them to maintain tough proficiency standards (by reducing the pressure to make the tests easier).”