Topeka The head of the Kansas Department of Education said Wednesday it’s not certain that the state will be granted its waiver request from the federal government for more flexibility under the No Child Left Behind Act.
Diane DeBacker said in an interview with The Associated Press that the state continues to negotiate with the U.S. Department of Education over a request to use an alternative system for measuring student and school achievement.
The state’s waiver request has been a topic of discussion during a school finance trial in Shawnee County District Court. Attorneys for plaintiff students and school districts are asking a three-judge panel to declare the state’s funding of education unconstitutional, in part because it fails to provide adequate resources to educate all students.
The Kansas waiver seeks permission to use a performance index for measuring academic success, similar to the state’s “standard of excellence” program for rewarding schools for results on state assessments tests.
DeBacker said federal education officials have raised concerns that the system would be “masking performance in the lower achievement categories.” If the waiver is denied, Kansas would have to reach the 2011 targets for math and reading proficiency by 2014.
DeBacker said Kansas would be talking to federal officials about the request on Friday and should know more about the waiver’s chances.