Monday August 20, 2012

NASHUA, N.H. (AP) -- New Hampshire education officials plan to apply for a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind education law.

The deadline for the third round of waivers is Sept. 6, but the Nashua Telegraph reported Saturday that the state's waiver application could be submitted as early as this month.

State Deputy Commissioner of Education Paul Leather said New Hampshire already has submitted a concept paper to the federal government and received encouragement to move forward with the waiver.

New Hampshire education officials in February said they wouldn't seek a waiver from the proficiency requirements that come with the program, choosing instead to develop and implement their own accountability system to improve student performance and teacher effectiveness.

While the state hasn't changed plans for an accountability system, state officials have received encouragement from Education Secretary Arne Duncan to pursue another direction toward achieving those goals.

"He seemed intrigued with our approach and encouraged us to go ahead," Leather said.

Waivers allow states to craft their own approaches to meeting goals, provided they include teacher and principal evaluation systems, college and career ready standards and accountability measures for disadvantaged student groups. Among other requirements, the waiver gives state education departments more control over their lowest-performing schools to better achieve student growth.