Ohio has joined a growing list of states looking to make their own attempt to fulfill the best intentions of the No Child Left Behind law. The U.S. Department of Education has approved a waiver that will give Ohio some flexibility in using federal education funding, in exchange for promises the state will improve how it teaches and tests its students.
Now, the challenge is to find a realistic way to hold teachers, schools and administrators accountable for meeting their responsibilities toward students. It is possible to give our children a better education, and prepare them well for life in an increasingly complex, competitive world.
But Ohio residents must demand of their district and state boards of education that documentable progress is made; that they do not rest on the waiver and return to the failed policies of the past.
Of course, the last thing Ohio's education system needs is more bureaucracy. Stepping away from the Department of Education's layers of it is no excuse to create more at the local or state level. Any changes necessary can be implemented within the current system. In fact, Ohio might find great improvement in serving students if it simplifies its education system.
Ohio and other states that have received No Child Left Behind waivers are being asked to ''develop and implement locally tailored solutions to meet their unique educational challenges,'' according to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
Buckeye State residents cannot afford to squander that opportunity - and the children cannot afford for it to be wasted.