South Dakota is preparing to file a waiver to free the state of No Child Left Behind. Is this good news for South Dakota schools? It may be no news. For South Dakota to win the waiver, it has to make preparations for an school evaluation system that must meet federal standards. It is not clear whether this system of evaluations and accountability would be substantively different from the current one under NCLB. Nor is it clear that South Dakota is better off without NCLB regulations. When schools don’t perform under NCLB now, they are eligible for more federal funds. If SD waivers out of NCLB, will those funds still be available to struggling schools?
All of this will have to be hammered out by the state before the federal government allows them to waive. If Uncle Sam says okay, it will mean that South Dakota has invented its own way of holding schools accountable.
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