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Archive for Friday, July 20, 2012

Kansas now among states granted No Child Left Behind waivers

July 20, 2012

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Kansas is among the latest states granted a waiver from key provisions of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind law, federal officials announced Thursday.

President Barack Obama told states last fall they could seek a waiver from an unpopular requirement that all students test proficient in math and reading by 2014. To get waivers, states must take actions that the Obama administration favors.

All told, 32 states have now been granted waivers, and four have outstanding requests. Kansas joined Arizona, Michigan, Mississippi, Oregon, South Carolina and Washington, D.C., as the newest batch of waiver recipients.

“I’m extremely pleased with the plan that has been advanced with the approval of our state’s flexibility request,” Kansas Education Commissioner Diane DeBacker said in a news release. “An accountability system based on student growth and multiple measures is a key component of our waiver and I believe it will result in a far more meaningful assessment of the progress and success of Kansas schools.”

Pressure to make changes to the No Child Left Behind law had been mounting because the percentage of students required to meet grade-level standards has been increasing rapidly each year as 2014 approaches. Under the law, schools that chronically miss annual targets and receive federal Title I funds to serve children from economically disadvantaged families are required to take aggressive actions that can include firing teachers or closing the school entirely.

Kansas’ new system will take effect in the upcoming school year. Under it, schools can show progress in four ways. One is proving achievement through an index that awards points for pushing students to a higher level on a five-part scale.

The state’s public schools also will be required to use student achievement data, such as test scores, in evaluating teachers and administrators by the 2014-15 academic year. The state is piloting an evaluation system and will use a commission to determine the system’s details, such as how much weight should be given to test scores and how to evaluate teachers of subjects that aren’t tested, such as art and music.

“The review process took a little longer than we had anticipated, but I believe we gained a stronger plan through the process,” DeBacker said. “It was important to me and to our State Board of Education that the integrity of the Kansas plan was preserved, and I believe it has been. I’m looking forward to sharing the details with school districts and working toward implementation.”

Comments

RoeDapple 2 years, 6 months ago

I'm sure they'll be crushed to hear the news . . .

Richard Heckler 2 years, 6 months ago

Now if republicans would obey the law on the books to fund schools as the law states our public school system could rock.

Excellent public school systems are key to new and consistent economic growth.

The question becomes why does the republican party choose to break the law?

kuguardgrl13 2 years, 6 months ago

Home schooled children (I believe) are still required to take the state tests. Private schools are exempt because they don't take government money and often have high standards for admission and remaining a student anyway.

notajayhawk 2 years, 6 months ago

When almost two-thirds of the entities covered by a rule get waivers, is it still a rule?

kuguardgrl13 2 years, 6 months ago

Glad to see we're free of the evil NCLB, but the BOE really needs to look into this carefully. Tests aren't always good indicators of progress. Also the fact that they want to evaluate art and music teachers worries me. Do government officials understand student progress in the arts? At least in music there really is no quantitative way to evaluate it. Did the students improve their playing or singing from the time they started learning a piece to when it was performed? Did they learn new skills while working on said piece? And how to you compare music in Lawrence or Blue Valley to the much smaller schools out west? Funding is incredibly important in having quality instruments and supplies and a variety of music. Not all schools can afford that. It's unfair to evaluate a teacher on so many variables. Education in general really should be evaluated on a more qualitative scale. Did the students make progress from August to May? Do they understand how to use the new information they've acquired? Can they apply information from one year to the next? States who receive this waiver should discuss the ideas they've come up with. Maybe Kansas could learn something from Minnesota or one of the several others who have received waivers and have developed what seem to be viable programs.

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