By Jerry Cornfield
U.S. Department of Education officials announced today they have exempted Washington from pieces of the federal ‘No Child Left Behind’ law, including a provision for all students to be proficient in reading and math by 2014..
Washington is now one of 26 states to obtain a waiver from the controversial law passed in the Bush Administration which has a heavy emphasis on test scores and aims to make all students proficient in reading and mathematics by 2014.
In a prepared statement, Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn said:
“This decision is welcome news that gives our state the opportunity to implement bold reforms around standards and accountability. 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.”
According to the OSPI release, school districts will see the results of the waiver immediately as they gain flexibility in how they spend portions of the federal education dollars each receives.
They also will be exempted from complying with the component of “Elementary and Secondary Education Act’ requires all students pass both the reading and math assessments by 2014.
According to OSPI:
“The waiver agreement replaces that provision with a focus on opportunity gaps. Subgroups of students (such as black, Hispanic, Asian, special education, students receiving free or reduced-price meals) will need to have the difference between their scores in 2011 and 100 percent cut in half by 2018.
For example, if one subgroup’s reading scores averaged 74 percent proficient in 2011, that subgroup would need to score 87 percent proficient by 2018, because 87 is halfway between 74 and 100.”