Last week 26 states and the District of Columbia met the second deadline for states seeking No Child Left Behind (NCLB) flexibility waivers. The following states applied this round: Arkansas, Arizona, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
The Department of Education launched the waiver process last fall as a way to give states a certain amount of flexibility from the mandates of the 10-year-old NCLB law in exchange for states’ implementing standards and accountability reforms. Of particular interest to supporters of afterschool programs has been the optional 11th waiver allowing 21st Century Community Learning Center (21stCCLC) funds to be used to lengthen the school day, week or year. Given the large demand for quality afterschool, before-school, and summer learning programs, and the potentially high cost of adding time to the school day, this provision could result in fewer communities having access to quality out-of-school programs. The Department of Education issued additional clarification to states on the 11th waiver in the form of a third addendum to their questions and answers on the waiver process. This new clarification emphasizes that existing 21st CCLC requirements prioritizing school-community partnerships cannot be waived by states; and that the "programming provided through a longer school day, week, or year, must not be 'more of the same' but instead should involve careful planning by the eligible entity to ensure that the programs or activities will be used to improve student achievement and ensure a well-rounded education that prepares students for college and careers."
In the second round of applications, the following 11 states plus the District of Columbia did not check the optional 11th waiver box: Arkansas, Arizona, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin. There were 14 states that did “check the box” this round: Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Utah and Virginia.
In early February the Department of Education announced that 11 states had been granted waivers, eight of which had checked the 11th waiver box relating to 21st CCLC funds: Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. Three states did not check the box: Colorado, Georgia and Minnesota. Thirteen states and Puerto Rico have either indicated they will not apply for a waiver or will wait until the third round deadline in the fall.