Kansas seeks waiver from federal No Child Left Behind law

Kansas schools would no longer face a 2014 deadline for ensuring 100 percent of their students are faring well on state tests under a waiver the state is seeking from the federal No Child Left Behind education law.

After congressional efforts to change the law failed to win approval, President Barack Obama told states last fall they could seek a waiver around the unpopular proficiency requirements in exchange for actions his administration favors. A vast majority of states have said they will go that route, seen as a temporary fix until lawmakers act.

Pressure to make changes had been mounting because the percentage of students required to meet grade-level standards is increasing rapidly each year as 2014 approaches. Schools that chronically miss annual targets and receive federal Title I funds for serving children from economically disadvantaged families are required to take aggressive actions such as firing their principal and half their staff.

The Kansas State Board of Education last week authorized the Kansas Department of Education to request a waiver in February.