NPR Story
5:04 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Illinois Finally Gets 'No Child Left Behind' Waiver

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 5:06 pm

After more than two years of trying, Illinois has finally won a waiver from the federal education law known as No Child Left Behind. Brian Mackey reports on what this means for schools in Illinois.

  The short answer is not much.

Illinois has already been moving beyond the No Child Left Behind law for some time, even as it waited for permission from the federal government.

Matt Vanover, a spokesman for the Illinois State Board of Education, says there were problems with No Child Left Behind.

"It was punitive in nature in that if a school's students didn't make certain performance benchmarks, then the school would be penalized, there'd be less flexibility to meet the local need," Vanover says.

Now, Illinois will use a multitude of factors to assess schools — not just test scores. The state also adopted different learning standards for English, math, and other subjects; and it's been implementing a new system for evaluating teachers.

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