May 2, 2014

Southern California Public Radio

by Adolfo Guzman-Lopez

A coalition of seven California school districts – including Los Angeles Unified, Long Beach Unified and Santa Ana Unified – have asked the federal government to renew a first-of-its-kind exemption to No Child Left Behind rules granted last year.

While the U.S. Department of Education has given dozen of states permission to ignore No Child Left Behind, last year was the first time it allowed an exemption to a smaller group of school districts.

The No Child Left Behind’s target benchmarks – a key part of the 2001 law – are considered unrealistic by most. It requires all children to be proficient at grade-level math and English by this year. It also set yearly targets for student sub-populations. Those that failed to meet targets faced expensive consequences, including having to provide tutoring.

The waiver removed some rules for how the local districts could use more than $100 million in federal funds.

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