Education News

Dec 7, 2011 1:41 PM by KPAX/KAJ Media Center

Montana won't seek waiver from federal education rules

HELENA- The state of Montana is not going to seek a waiver from parts of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

Superintendent Denise Juneau has announced the Office of Public Instruction will not be seeking a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education from certain requirements of No Child Left Behind under the ESEA Flexibility Plan in exchange for other reforms.

"I need to make sure any policy change or reform efforts that Montana engages in make sense for our kids and our schools," Juneau stated in a news release.

"After careful consideration of the impacts on Montana schools and the financial resources that would be necessary to meet the 'all or nothing' requirements of the waiver, it is clear the strings attached to this option do not make sense for our state," Juneau added.."

State officials have spent several months gathering input from Montanans about the waiver option, including from representatives from Montana School Boards Association, School Administrators of Montana, MEA-MFT, Montana Indian Education Association, Montana Board of Public Education, Montana Small Schools Alliance and Montana Rural Education Association.

Education leaders joined Juneau on Wednesday in expressing their concern that the waiver plan is a replacement program for current NCLB requirements which would cost the state millions to implement.

"Implementing the policies in these 'all or nothing' waiver requirements when they could quite possibly be overruled by Congressional action would be short-sighted. I will keep advocating for rural states and Montana schools so that any new reforms or funding opportunities don't exclude states like ours," Juneau commented.

She added that Montana will continue to move forward with its current reform efforts including promoting community-based efforts to improve graduation rates, adopting higher standards in English and Math and revising the state test to match those standards.

Click here to read a copy of Juneau's letter.

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