Following his appearance at the Puerto Rican National Day Parade, the Governor of Puerto Rico, Alejandro Garcia Padilla headed to Washington to meet with several federal officials, including the Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. The purpose of the meeting with Duncan was to once again submit a request for an waiver from the requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, through its reauthorization as the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.
In 2012, President Barack Obama granted waivers from NCLB requirements to several states. “In exchange for that flexibility, those states ‘have agreed to raise standards, improve accountability, and undertake essential reforms to improve teacher effectiveness,’ the White House said in a statement at the time. As of now, 32 states have been granted the waivers.
The previous administration of Governor Luis Fortuño had requested the waiver last year, but its request was denied due to not meeting the requirements set by the Obama administration. Although the agency does not publish which states or territories’ requests have been turned down, at least Iowa and California have publicly admitted their requests were also turned down.
In March of this year, Garcia Padilla’s administration resubmitted the request for the waiver, and the meeting in Washington was meant to insist on the request’s approval by the US Department of Education. Garcia Padilla was joined by Puerto Rico’s Secretary of State David Bernier.