In just five months, the Obama administration has freed schools in more than half the nation from central provisions of the No Child Left Behind education law, raising the question of whether the decade-old federal program has been essentially nullified.More professional development.
On Friday, the Department of Education plans to announce that it has granted waivers releasing two more states, Washington and Wisconsin, from some of the most onerous conditions of the signature Bush-era legislation. With this latest round, 26 states are now relieved from meeting the lofty — and controversial — goal of making all students proficient in reading and mathematics by 2014. Additional waivers are pending in 10 states and the District of Columbia.
“The more waivers there are, the less there really is a law, right?” said Andy Porter, dean of the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education.
In exchange for the education waivers, schools and districts must promise to set new targets aimed at preparing students for colleges and careers. They must also tether evaluations of teachers and schools in part to student achievement on standardized tests. The use of tests to judge teacher effectiveness is a departure from No Child Left Behind, which used test scores to rate schools and districts.
Instead of labeling all struggling schools as failing, the waivers direct states to focus most attention on the bottom 5 percent of low-performing schools. “With the waiver we can focus on those schools that really need a lot of help,” said June Atkinson, North Carolina’s state superintendent of public schools.
The waivers also free up about $2 billion in annual federal funding that No Child Left Behind required low-performing schools to use either to transfer students to other schools or for tutoring services.
Maria Campanario, interim principal at Rafael Hernández School, a dual-language kindergarten-to-Grade 8 school in Roxbury, a Boston neighborhood, that has missed its federal targets four years running, said parents were often confused by the offer to transfer to another school.
“I have parents who come in who are English-language learners, and they would say: ‘What does this mean, we can go to another school? You don’t want us to be here?’ ” she said. “They would say, ‘But we like the school and think it’s fine.’ ”
Ms. Campanario said she welcomed the discretion to use the funding for “professional development that is going to support the whole school.”
“If you give me that money,” she said, “ I will put it to excellent use.”
‘No Child’ Law Whittled Down by White House By MOTOKO RICH
Published: July 6, 2012
I'm sure that will work.
By the way, when did 'support' become the all-purpose word for what schools do. I hear 'support' constantly in the edu-world these days. Hear it and read it. Struggling students need support, struggling teachers need support, struggling schools need support. Everyone needs support, and everyone else seems to be getting and/or providing support. It's all about support!