- Louisiana's waiver from the Bush-era No Child Left Behind law was renewed this week by the U.S. Department of Education, which said the state had gone "above and beyond" what the law required when adopting reforms.
- Democrats and Republicans have been unable to reach a compromise on a revision of the No Child Left Behind Act, so the Obama administration developed the waivers as a means to free states from lofty goals for reading and writing proficiency tied to federal funding.
- Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has, however, alleged in a federal lawsuit that the administration has used the waivers, along with Race To The Top funding, to pressure states to adopt Common Core standards and testing — a charge frequently levied against the administration by its critics.
Among Louisiana's reforms lauded by the U.S. Department of Education: professional development, curriculum development, and college and career programs that utilized teams of former educators and administrators in their creation. (Of course, it helps that the state adopted Common Core, too.)
As for the controversial standards, Jindal, who started out as a supporter, has been trying for months to get the state to follow suit with Indiana, Oklahoma, and others that have abandoned them in favor of their own guidelines. Sen. David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican, is also planning to propose an amendment barring academic standards like the Common Core from being federally mandated to states.