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RI granted federal education law waiver

May 29, 2012
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PROVIDENCE, R.I.—The federal government on Tuesday granted Rhode Island a waiver from some requirements of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind law, giving the state more flexibility in its efforts to turn around low-performing schools.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced that Rhode Island is one of eight states that will be getting "flexibility" in meeting some provisions of the federal education reform law.

Elliot Krieger, a spokesman for Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist, said "we're happy."

The state devised a new accountability system over the past six months that officials say will focus attention on closing achievement gaps and allow schools to tailor interventions.

"With our new system of accountability, support and intervention, we will focus on the specific problems unique to each school in Rhode Island," Gist said in a statement.

Under President Barack Obama, the federal Education Department has said it will grant flexibility in exchange for a commitment to reforms that will raise student achievement.

There are now 19 states that have received exemptions. Federal education officials are reviewing the applications of 18 other states.

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat, said in a statement the waiver will allow state officials more freedom to determine how to better educate students.

The other states that got waivers on Tuesday are Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina and Ohio.

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