Oklahoma loses waiver to extend No Child Left Behind Act
By Jay Dillon
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Federal officials announced Thursday that Oklahoma's public school standards are not sufficient to prepare students for college and a waiver to extend some provisions from the No Child Left Behind Act has been rejected.The state announced the rejection Thursday saying the decision will impose 'serious new federal mandates' on Oklahoma schools.The U.S. Department of Education sent a letter to the state Thursday saying that while Oklahoma had benefited from the flexibility, it couldn't justify an extension.Assistant Education Secretary Deborah Delisle told the Associated press that Oklahoma had promised to carry out plans to improve education for all students. This year, however, Oklahoma overturned its Common Core standards and adopted those in place in 2010. Delisle told Oklahoma officials they "can no longer demonstrate that the state's standards are college- and career-ready standards."Educators in Indiana and Kansas were granted one-year waivers Thursday, allowing them to continue state-developed programs.State Superintendent Janet Barresi held a press conference at 3:15 to discuss the rejection and said she was disappointed in the ruling and that it would affect schools this year.During Thursday's press conference, officials stressed that the federal government was not pulling any money out of Oklahoma but is dictating how the money is being spent in Oklahoma schools.Governor Mary Fallin issued a statement shortly after the announcement laying blame on President Barack Obama. Fallin said President Obama is playing politics with children's education:"It is outrageous that President Obama and Washington bureaucrats are trying to dictate how Oklahoma schools spend education dollars," said Fallin. "Because of overwhelming opposition from Oklahoma parents and voters to Common Core, Washington is now acting to punish us. This is one more example of an out-of-control presidency that places a politicized Washington agenda over the well-being of Oklahoma students. I join parents, teachers, and administrators in being outraged by this decision, and I will fight it with every tool available to the state of Oklahoma." The newly-hired superintendent of the state's largest school district also issued a statement. Oklahoma City Superintendent Robert Neu places blame on the decision of state lawmakers to repeal common:"I am not surprised by the US Department of Education's decision to revoke Oklahoma's waiver; this makes the state legislature's decision to repeal Common Core that much more disconcerting. Our state elected leaders knew we had a risk of going back to the failed public policy of No Child Left Behind. Simply put, this is bad for our children. Oklahoma City's educators are committed to making sure each of our students reaches his or her full potential and I know that our talented and committed staff will continue to serve our children--despite the elected officials inability to do so." --Robert Neu, OKCPS SuperintendentInformation from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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