States Struggling to Retain ‘No Child’ Waivers

Association of Educators
January 22, 2014 — 816 views  

Six states namely New York, Connecticut, Idaho, Mississippi, Colorado and Delaware are struggling to implement plans to change the system of testing and learning schedules so as to get out of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, says the Education Department. The NCLB law, which was signed by George Bush back in 2002, needs all states to test students in reading and math between the grades of three and eight, as well as high school. All students, according to this law, are required to either meet or even reach higher than the standards set by state in reading and math by 2014. The law needs states to set standards and a testing procedure in place as per federal needs.

Waivers and Promises

In 2011, President Obama freed several states from the law. However, states that get waivers also need to prove that there are other standards in place to ensure students achieve high standards in reading and math. As part of the first round of monitoring among waiver states taken up in 2012, the Education Department had stricken Arizona, Washington, Oregon and Kansas and said they stood the risk of losing waivers.

Flagged States

Recent reports show that Mississippi and Idaho seem to be struggling the most during the second leg of monitoring. In Mississippi, the authorities found that the state needs to change plans on how it will help teachers handle students with disabilities or struggling learners to become fit for college or a career. The state has fallen behind on hiring intervention specialists who monitor focus schools, reports suggested.

In New York, authorities found that the state was not ensuring replacement of principals in priority schools. While Colorado received praise for improvement plans, reports say these plans also need to focus on monitoring performance of subgroups. Delaware and Idaho were flagged on several counts such as absence of plans for implementation of interventions in focus schools, or not identifying reward schools (in case of Idaho). According to experts in education policy, the biggest issue across states is that of correcting low-performing schools.

Categories of Schools

As part of the turnaround plan, the categories under which schools are included are: focus schools, priority schools, and reward schools. A focus school is one which has scope for progress on issues that are only specific to that school. A priority school is one that has been listed among the lowest-performing schools in the state, while a reward school is one which has recorded outstanding progress in three consecutive years.

Association of Educators