Maryland To Opt Out of No Child Left Behind

Aim to set more realistic goals for state's education system

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    Education officials in Maryland are expected to apply for a waiver from the most rigid requirements of the No Child Left Behind education law.
     
    The Baltimore Sun reports the waiver request is expected to be filed Monday. If it is granted, Maryland schools would be measured not just on how all students perform but also on specific groups, including minorities and special education students.
     
    The state's application says schools should cut their achievement gaps in half during the next six years. The goals would be more reasonable than the current law. It says every student in the country should be proficient in reading and math by 2014.

    Mary Gable, assistant state superintendent of academic policy, says each school will be giving individual goals to meet in six years.

    From the Sun:

    Using the percentage of its students that now pass Maryland School Assessments, the state will require each school to halve the number of students who currently aren't achieving.

    For example, a school with 50 percent of its fifth-graders reading proficiently in 2011 would be expected to have 75 percent reading proficiently in six years. Each year, the school would be expected to make growth toward that goal. In addition, groups such as special education students would have a goal of meeting the same amount of progress.

    Under the current law, that school would be expected to have every fifth-grader reading on grade level by 2014.

    In September, President Barack Obama offered states the opportunity to apply for waivers from some of the key elements of the No Child Left Behind program, President George Bush's signature education law.  Eleven states have already won approval to opt out of the program, and 30 more have signaled their intent to apply for the waiver this week.