Yasmeen Khan is a reporter covering education. You can find her stories on the air and on SchoolBook.org, WNYC’s education website.
New Jersey is one of 11 states Wednesday that applied for a federal waiver from elements of No Child Left Behind, the federal education law. New York state is also expected to apply for the waiver by February.
The Obama administration is allowing states to apply for waivers, which would give them more flexibility to improve student achievement and classroom instruction, in exchange for state's coming up with their own reform proposals.
Critics have said No Child Left Behind relies too heavily on test scores and punishes schools if they don’t make enough annual progress.
Governor Chris Christie and New Jersey's acting Education Commissioner Chris Cerf announced a package of four reform bills as part of the state's waiver application:
The bills were introduced in July.
The New Jersey Education Association, the state's largest teachers union, said it agrees with some aspects of the governor's reform agenda but disagrees with others, including the Christie administration's approach to evaluating teachers and granting tenure. The N.J.E.A. contends it has a more streamlined approach to teacher evaluation and tenure, which the organization outlined in its own reform agenda.