Jessica Wehrman
and Catherine Candisky
Columbus Dispatch

WASHINGTON: The federal government will give Ohio extra flexibility to use its own education standards and assessments, but still allow the state to receive federal education dollars, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said Tuesday.

Ohio was one of eight states to receive a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind law, the controversial 2001 education measure that required states to test students in reading and math in order to receive federal dollars. Eleven other states have already received waivers from the law.

Ohio’s application, said Carmel Martin, the Education Department’s assistant secretary for planning, evaluation and policy development, was impressive because it put forth a “very strong plan” with high performance targets and “a very strong district-level accountability system.”

The plan, she said, was notable because it aimed to give students “21st century skills” and also included a strong plan for implementing teacher evaluations.

Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina and Rhode Island also learned that they received waivers, Duncan said.