Mississippi gets NCLB waiver

By The Associated Press

JACKSON — Mississippi interim state superintendent Lynn House says a waiver from key provisions of the No Child Left Behind law means schools will have more flexibility with public education.

“It will allow us an opportunity to institute better practices in our schools and make a difference in the lives of our students,” House said in a statement Wednesday.

Mississippi was among six states and the District of Columbia that were granted waivers Wednesday from the Bush-era law.

All told, 32 states have now been granted waivers; four others have outstanding requests.

States granted waivers will be exempt from the law’s requirement that all students be proficient in math and reading by 2014 — a goal the nation is still far from reaching. In its place, the Education Department has approved state plans aimed at improving low-performing schools, increasing teacher efficiency and preparing students for college and careers.

House said Mississippi’s waiver request focused “on an aggressive plan for turning around lower-performing schools, identifying effective teaching methods, and increasing state and district accountability.”

“The waiver includes incentives for student growth, ambitious performance targets in math and reading/language arts, and closing the gap between student groups,” she said.

Mississippi applied for the waiver in February.