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U.S. Department of Education Approves New Mexico's Request for Waiver from No Child Left Behind

Superintendent Brooks says the success of obtaining the waiver releases APS and other New Mexico districts from having to use two academic accountability systems to measure the success of schools.

February 15, 2012

The U.S. Department of Education granted New Mexico a waiver from No Child Left Behind, the current federal education law, Secretary Arne Duncan announced Wednesday.

The announcement makes New Mexico the 11th state to receive a waiver from NCLB. 

“Today, New Mexico joins the ranks of states leading the charge on education reform by protecting children, raising standards and holding themselves accountable,” Secretary Duncan said. “As New Mexico implements these reforms, it is important that all stakeholders are at the table and their voices are heard. We encourage the Governor and her team to work closely and in a bipartisan manner with the legislature, and to fully include educators, community and tribal leaders and parents in the process of advancing these reforms.”

Approval of New Mexico’s school grading plan means that the state will no longer have to meet 2014 targets set by NCLB. In exchange, New Mexico will move to an accountability system that recognizes and rewards high-performing schools and those that are making significant gains, while targeting rigorous and comprehensive interventions for the lowest-performing schools, according to the Department of Education.

Albuquerque Public Schools Superintendent Winston Brooks congratulated New Mexico Public Education Secretary-designate Hanna Skandera and her team for moving the state forward in the waiver process.

"The success of obtaining the waiver from the No Child Left Behind Act releases us from the possibility of having to use two academic accountability systems to measure the success of our schools," Brooks said. "That’s good for everyone and will make it easier to adopt and fully implement the new A – F grading system."

"I’m eager to see the details of the waiver to better understand the expectations from the U.S. Department of Education and weigh the implications for our staff and students," Brooks said.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, New Mexico schools will develop and implement plans to improve educational outcomes for underperforming subgroups of students. The state’s plans will also require continued transparency around achievement gaps, but will provide schools and districts greater flexibility in how they use Title I federal dollars to support students.

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