The state education department wants to leave No Child Left Behind, behind.   The state board of education has voted to ask the United States Department of Education to exempt Missouri from provisions of the 2001 federal law setting proficiency goals for all of the nation’s schools. NCLB demands students be performing at grade level in reading and science by 2012.

For several years education officials in numerous states have argued the goals have been unreasonable and unattainable.  Earlier this, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced states could ask for waivers from accountability standards.  He approved waivers for the first eleven  states a few weeks ago.

State education officials say state goals are more realistic. 

Department spokesman  Michel (mi-shell) Clark says the waiver will give Missouri more flexibility in meeting its goals of having its schools rated among the nation’s ten best by 20-20.

                                             AUDIO: Clark   :21

If the waiver is granted, Missouri will have to pay special attention to improving test scores in schools scoring in the lowest five percent.  It also will have to work with districts having the widest achievement gaps among various categories and ethnicities of students. 

Clark thinks state officials will lay out Missouri’s plans with the federal education department officials late next month.  If the waiver comes through, changes could be seen in schools by the next school year.