Governor Chris Christie is applauding the Obama Administration's decision to waive requirements for the state under the federal 'No Child Left Behind education law and instead pursue other reform measures.

Christie says the decision frees the state to work on needed improvements to schools, particularly in cities. New Jersey is one of 10 states to be granted the waiver.

"The Obama Administration's approval of our education reform agenda contained in this application confirms that our bold, common sense, and bipartisan reforms are right for New Jersey and shared by the President and Secretary Duncan's educational vision for the country," says Christie. "This is not about Democrats or Republicans - it is about pursuing an agenda in the best interest of our children whose educational needs are not being met, and those who are getting a decent education but deserve a great one."

New Jersey plans to start intervention efforts for the 15 percent of schools that are lowest-performing and to publish new ratings for all schools. The top-performing schools will be eligible for extra state funding.

The state has already started testing a new system to evaluate teachers and joined a nationwide effort to adopt uniform standards for what students are expected to be taught.

The Christie Administration's NCLB application, submitted in November, is part of an effort to reform the state's accountability systems and a comprehensive education reform agenda to increase academic standards, the effectiveness and talent of educators, and accountability for results in the classroom. Implementing the reforms outlined in the waiver makes New Jersey a leader in developing a new and more meaningful accountability system to better identify troubled schools, diagnose the causes of their struggles, and target our resources to improve the lowest-performing schools.

Christie is advocating for four specific, bipartisan pieces of legislation that are needed to achieve the education reform goals agreed upon by the Christie and Obama Administrations in the NCLB waiver application. The package of bills, one of which has been enacted, goes hand in hand with the accountability system reforms in the waiver to fix failing schools and will result in greater school choice for students in under performing districts, a system to identify and reward effective teachers, and supports for teachers who are not getting results for children.

"As we implement a new accountability system to more effectively assess, identify and intervene in troubled schools, we must also take the next steps to enact legislation to ensure our students have the most talented, effective teachers in classrooms and hurdles to innovation and creativity are removed," explains Christie. "There is no single solution to turn around chronically failing schools or close the achievement gap. So, it is critical that the Legislature join me, standing alongside President Obama and Secretary Duncan, in providing the comprehensive set of tools needed to give every child in every part of our state the opportunity and hope that only comes with a quality education."

Video by Dino Flammia