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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Northwest States Vary On 'No Child Left Behind' Waivers

Oregon is waiting to hear whether its application for a continued federal waiver from the No Child Left Behind law will be approved.

The 2001 No Child Left Behind Act grew increasingly unpopular as states struggled to meet with the federal law's standards. Three years ago President Obama announced that states could apply for waivers from the law -- but only if they adopted certain standards for evaluating teachers.

Northwest states have followed different paths. Idaho made enough changes to qualify for a renewal of its waiver. Oregon’s proposed changes for evaluating teachers are currently under review in Washington, DC. This past spring Washington became the first state in the nation to lose its waiver when it refused to incorporate student achievement test scores in its teacher evaluations.

Maria Ferguson, director of the Center on Education Policy at George Washington University, said the struggle over how to evaluate teachers is a key point of contention in nearly every state.

"A lot of times it's the strength of the teacher unions," Ferguson said. "Because the teacher unions are really the ones who are very, very much against this idea of using student achievement data for teacher evaluation purposes."

So far more than 40 states have had waiver status approved.