The Nevada Department of Education announced Wednesday that it has been granted a waiver from the federal government's No Child Left Behind Act.
Nevada applied for this waiver back on the first of January, hoping that exemption from parts of NCLB would allow administrators to tailor the education system in they way they think will work best.
"It is something that the district has been pushing already," Washoe County School District Superintendent Pedro Martinez said, "but now it's going to be a state push."
The NDOE submitted a detailed alternative plan, about 140 pages long, that would replace parts of NCLB.
State Superintendent Jim Guthrie said that the main goal with this alternative plan was to change the system of accountability in our schools.
Under NCLB, schools are judged based on "Adequate Yearly Progress" or AYP. Administrators said that the law had the unintended consequence of forcing teachers to pay more attention to students on the cusp of not making proficiency than the rest of the students.
The new model has a stronger emphasis on student growth as a parameter for assessment, instead of proficiency. Both Guthrie and Martinez said this new system will raise the bar in Nevada's schools.
"We were very involved in actually preparing the waiver, working with the state, along with other districts," Martinez said. "For us it is about increasing standards. It is about increasing expectations, increasing rigor."
Nevada is one of 33 states plus the District of Columbia to be approved for the NCLB waiver since President Obama announced the waiver plan back in September of 2011.
To see the full interview with new WCSD Superintendent Pedro Martinez, tune in for Face the State Saturday at 4:30 AM and 3 PM, or Sunday at 6:30 AM and 3:30 PM.