MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Tennessee is out of the No Child Left Behind Act. It's one of 10 states that asked for an exemption to the federal education policy.
The act divides students at public schools into several groups based on various criteria like the ability to speak English, ethnicity, and economic status.
Every group is expected to be proficient in math and reading by 2014. That includes students with learning disabilities.
Tennessee was one of several states that lobbied hard for a waiver from this law so the state can set up its own method to measure student performance in each of those groups. That's what this waiver allows them to do, but students would still have to be tested every year.
"After waiting far too long for Congress to reform No Child Left Behind, my Administration is giving states the opportunity to set higher, more honest standards in exchange for more flexibility," said President Barack Obama. "Today, we’re giving 10 states the green light to continue making reforms that are best for them. Because if we’re serious about helping our children reach their potential, the best ideas aren’t going to come from Washington alone. Our job is to harness those ideas, and to hold states and schools accountable for making them work."
Tennessee's plan calls for raising student achievement every year so that half of all students reach the same achievement level in eight years. Tennessee's plan also calls for state intervention if schools don't meet those goals.
Under No Child Left Behind, schools that didn't meet those federal goals for two or more years in a row faced tough penalties, such as replacing staff.
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam helped push for the change.
"Tennessee schools have continued to make progress over the past decade that NCLB has been law, but the rigid and unrealistic AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) accountability model labeled some of these schools as failures despite meaningful improvement," Haslam said. "We’ve implemented rigorous standards in Tennessee, and Tennessee received this waiver because of our commitment to improving education for all of our students."
The other states included are Kentucky, Colorado, Indiana, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, New Jersey, Georgia, Florida, and Minnesota.