About the Center on Education Policy: The Center on Education Policy is a national, independent advocate for public education and for more effective public schools. The Center helps Americans better understand the role of public education in a democracy and the need to improve the academic quality of public schools. We do not represent special interests. Instead, we try to help citizens make sense of the conflicting opinions and perceptions about public education and create the conditions that will lead to better public schools.
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This report analyzes the NCLB waiver applications submitted by the first 11 states to the U.S. Department of Education in November 2011. Among the findings in the report are that these states are proposing new and complex accountability systems which they assert will respond to local needs and better identify schools that need assistance. Also, nearly all the state applications would base accountability decisions on the achievement of just two student groups: all students and a single “disadvantaged” group. This is a departure from the current NCLB policy, which holds schools accountable for the performance of numerous subgroups of students, ranging from major racial and ethnic groups to students with disabilities.