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Associated Press, Published March 05 2013

ND withdraws application for No Child Left Behind waiver

BISMARCK — State School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler has withdrawn North Dakota's application for a waiver from No Child Left Behind requirements, opting instead to push for changes in the federal education law that many have criticized.

States are allowed to opt out of the law if they meet certain requirements including developing alternative standards that meet federal approval. Nearly three dozen states have been granted waivers. North Dakota applied last fall under former State Superintendent Wayne Sanstead.

North Dakota officials could not come to an agreement with federal officials on the issue of reducing the number of students who are deemed "non-proficient." The state's application listed a goal of a 25 percent reduction over six years. The federal Education Department wanted state officials to change it to 50 percent.

"The further we progressed through the waiver process, the more we felt we were being asked to adopt another national, one-size-fits-all model of education," Baesler said at a Monday afternoon press conference.

North Dakota will continue to operate under the No Child Left Behind regulations, meaning more schools could be considered failing and fall under program improvement plans. Baesler said she will ask the state's congressional delegation to push Congress to change the law.

Officials with the North Dakota Council of Educational Leaders, the North Dakota School Boards Association and the North Dakota Education Association said they support the move.

"No Child Left Behind doesn't work and hasn't for years," said Jon Martinson, executive director of the School Boards Association.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.