Obama grants 10 states waivers from strictest provisions of No Child Left Behind

Here and Now

President Barack Obama talks with Anand Srinivasan, 15, in the Blue Room, Feb. 7, 2012, during the second annual White House Science Fair celebrating student winners of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) competitions from across the country

President Barack Obama on Thursday announced that 10 states would receive waivers from the strictest requirements of the No Child Left Behind legislation.

In a White House announcement, Obama said Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Tennessee had applied for and been granted a waiver from the punitive provisions of NCLB, which was set to require all students to be proficient in reading and math by 2014. 

"If we're serious about helping our children reach their potential, the best ideas aren't going to come from Washington alone," Obama said in a statement, according to the Huffington Post. "Our job is to harness those ideas, and to hold states and schools accountable for making them work."

New Mexico is an only state that sought a waiver and was denied, though it's continuing to negotiate with the federal government to receive one. In order to receive a waiver, states had to propose their own strategies for monitoring schools and improving those that weren't adequately teaching all students. The Huffington Post said 28 other states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have also signaled they will apply for a waiver. The next deadline is later this month.

The waivers have angered Congressional Republicans who see them as Obama exceeding his authority, The New York Times said. Obama, in a statement, called on Congress to modify the law to create a system that will work.

Absent that, though, he said he was taking action.

“After waiting far too long for Congress to reform No Child Left Behind, my administration is giving states the opportunity to set higher, more honest standards in exchange for more flexibility,” Obama's statement said.