Waiver gives state flexibility with No Child Left Behind
Washington has been granted a waiver from some of the requirements of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, also known as the No Child Left Behind Act, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn announced Friday.
“This decision is welcome news that gives our state the opportunity to implement bold reforms around standards and accountability,” Dorn said in a news release. “It allows state and local educators to decide how to best meet the individual needs of students they serve. Current ESEA law is written in a way that narrowly defines ‘success’ based mainly on standardized test scores.”
Washington is one of 26 states with a waiver.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with today’s announcement,” Gov. Chris Gregoire said in a news release. “We worked tremendously hard to earn this waiver.”
Before the waiver was granted, districts statewide were required to set aside about $34 million in their budgets to pay for outside service providers. Now, those districts will have more flexibility in spending that money within federal rules, according to Dorn’s office.
As part of the waiver, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction will be required to annually identify schools as “priority schools,” “focus schools” and “reward schools.” The state also will use a revised accountability system and index that measures a student’s proficiency in multiple content areas over time and other student-growth data, instead of tracking only reading and math test scores and graduation rates. The state is implementing a new evaluation system for teachers and principals as well, Dorn said.
The waiver will give the state more time to improve student performance among certain groups, such as minorities, special-education students, and those who receive free or reduced-priced meals.
To view the state’s waiver application, go to www.k12.wa.us
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