Alabama Seeks to Freeze Annual NCLB Benchmarks, Apply for Waiver

Alabama may seek a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind law, but as it drafts its proposal it will take advantage of an opportunity to temporarily freeze the state’s Annual Measurable Objectives—benchmarks the state must meet each year under NCLB.

Superintendent Tommy Bice reported on the new option at the State Board of Education’s work session on February 23. He noted that Alabama should take time to continue to develop its own plan and proposal for improving education tailored to the needs of the state.

“We want to present a plan that is ours,” he was quoted as saying in the Birmingham News story about the waiver decision. “I don’t think we should rush and do something we don’t believe in.”

The U.S. Department of Education first announced the plan to waive aspects of NCLB last September, and 11 states applied and were ultimately granted waivers in February in the first round. This week, the USDOE announced another 26 states and DC have submitted requests for waivers.

Under NCLB, 100% of students in each state must be classified as proficient by 2014. The states must meet benchmarks (AMOs) each year leading up to 2014 in order to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), or face penalties.