No child left behind

AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite

Washington state is at risk of losing nearly $40 million in federal funding after lawmakers left Olympia without passing a teacher evaluation bill.

Without the bill, the state failed to secure a waiver for an onerous requirement under the No Child Left Behind Act. As a result, the fate of federal funding for local preschool programs and extended day services now hinges on what federal education officials decide in coming months.

Here's an explanation of why the lawmakers didn't pass the bill, and where the complex issue now stands. 

Washington schools will be able to sidestep some of the toughest standards and punishments in the federal No Child Left Behind law. The federal government announced Friday it will give waivers to Washington and Wisconsin.

Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn has said under the current law, nearly every school in the state would get socked with penalties. Schools are supposed to have all of their students meeting learning standards by 2014, or else lose control over big chunks of federal money.

Washington’s new teacher evaluation law may be too weak to satisfy the federal government. The U. S. Department of Education did not free the state from the strictures of No Child Left Behind today, leaving Washington schools open to harsh sanctions in two years.