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Federal Waiver Granted To Schools For No Child Left Behind Requirements

By 2014 school districts that didn't have 100 percent of their students meeting the No Child Left Behind requirements in reading and math would have been deemed as failing, but now the federal government has exempted them.

The Federal government granted Wisconsin a waiver from meeting requirements set by the No Child Left Behind Law after state officials proposed their own state-wide improvement plans.

According to a story in the Journal Sentinel:

The green light for Wisconsin's application for a waiver from certain requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind law means relief from what many have felt was a punitive system for judging school performance over the past decade. It also means the state is released from meeting a 2014 deadline under the law to have 100 percent of its students proficient in reading and math.

But the waiver also means the state will be setting additional expectations, which school districts will need to meet.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan lauded the waivers, but still called for bipartisan support for the passage of the federal education law, which has been up for reauthorization from Congress since 2007.

"It is a remarkable milestone that in only five months, more than half of the states in the country have adopted state-developed, next-generation education reforms to improve student learning and classroom instruction, while ensuring that resources are targeted to the students that need them most," Duncan said. "A strong, bipartisan reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act remains the best path forward in education reform, but as 26 states have now demonstrated, our kids can't wait any longer for Congress to act."

Governor Scott Walker released the following statement regarding the announcement of the waiver:

For the past year and a half we have worked with Democrats, Republicans, and a wide variety of education stakeholders to develop systems to help our schools and teachers improve.  This waiver puts more power in the hands of Wisconsin’s parents, educators, and elected officials to determine what is best for students in each community. 

I am hopeful that Congress will continue to work toward a more permanent refining of the federal government’s role in education.

In the meantime, we must continue to develop a fair and transparent system for evaluating and improving our state’s public, choice, and charter schools.  Together we will replicate successful schools while finding ways to improve schools that are not achieving results. 

I will continue to work with Superintendent Evers and others with the goal of improving education for students all across Wisconsin.

Earlier this year, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction presented Wisconsin's Elementary and Secondary Education Act Flexibility Request, which would propose state legislation that would require high school students to take more math and science classes, and red flag schools with high levels of absenteeism and low graduation rates.

“Wisconsin's NCLB waiver is an ambitious education reform package. We are setting higher expectations for students, educators, and schools with a clear focus on our graduates being college and career ready,” according to State Superintendent Tony Evers.

Dennis Wiser, president of the Board, said the NCLB standards were set too high and the district has an improvement plan they are already starting to implement.  

“The way NCLB was written, every school in a year or two would be failing,” Wiser said. “The waiver now requires states to implement an improvement plan, which will focus on how we score school districts, but also schools and teachers."

Wiser said the state would require school monitoring through scorecards and revised evaluation procedures for teachers. These are items the school district has already set into motion.

Julian Thomas Elementary will be a test pilot site for the new teacher evaluation tools this fall and Unified already has district-wide scorecards.

However, Wiser believes the state plan is better than NCLB, but when the state and federal government mandate changes every two years, it makes things chaotic, he said.

“The federal NCLB plan did a good job on setting standards, but it didn’t offer a lot of solutions, and these were goals that were guaranteed impossible, so this will be better than that,” Wiser said.

James R Hoffa July 08, 2012 at 05:19 PM
@Ron - Get a clue! I too spend much time in the great state of Michigan, and Snyder has been doing an admirable job trying to right decades of Democratic Party control over the state. Like Doyle in Wisconsin, Granholm knew that she didn't stand a snowball's chance in hell of being re-elected, so she didn't even try, and that her poor leadership pretty much sealed the fate of the Democratic Party in the state during the 2010 election. While I legitimately like Virg Bernero as a person, having met the man on several occasions, he's little more than a big government tax and spend Democrat. The reason that the emergency manager law has become vital is due to the fact that the state is always expected to swoop in and bail out these poorly run and mismanaged municipal/local level governments with taxpayer revenues that derive from all over the state and not just the effected municipalities/localities - essentially, it's taxation without representation. Ergo, if the state is expected to save the day, then the state should be running the show. Otherwise, such municipalities/localities should be allowed to go insolvent/bankrupt, as you appear to be advocating, as that's what the people of those local levels voted for when they elected poor leadership that mismanaged.
James R Hoffa July 08, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Unfortunately, when that occurs, it tends to have a negative impact on the state as a whole. Thus, Snyder's emergency manager law is the only compromise that makes logical and fair sense, as the state executive is voted upon by all the people of the state, therefor, there is no dictatorial control as you've erroneously and falsely asserted here. Care to try again?
Stormy Weather July 08, 2012 at 05:34 PM
@ Heather - Brian is right about RUSD squandering money. Here's another example. A couple summers ago, a RUSD staff member noticed that someone at Central Office was throwing out summer school supply kits. This staff member (rightly so) didn't think it was a good idea to throw out perfectly good school supplies, so the staff member asked if they use them at an elementary school. The staff member was basically told, that they could do whatever they wanted to do "After" they were in the dumpster. So the staff member who apparently doesn't like to see perfectly good school supplies wasted, pulled them out of the garbage so that the supplies could be used at the school! I say, kudos to the resourceful staff member and shame on RUSD for allowing these school supply kits to be thrown out! And another thing... The school supply kits came to RUSD via title one funding!
Stormy Weather July 08, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Here's another example of waste... A year or two ago, Gifford school printed at least one grade level of report cards in Spanish! And this... In June of this year, someone at Central Office printed (and mailed) duplicate report cards for Mitchell Middle School students. Since Mitchell Middle has approximately 750 students, that's another $300.00 to $400.00 down the drain! And that's not counting the time aspect of printing duplicate report cards...
Tansandy July 08, 2012 at 10:41 PM
What was it, 11 failing schools? But you know what? Not one teacher, nor 1 principal out of those 11 schools will be relocated, put on probation, or just plain fired. So we all stay in our same positions and continue to run a failing school. Nothing changes and we go teaching our children how to fail next year by the same personnel that taught them how to fail this year. Be like Colorado, everyone, teachers, administrators, and principals are given a 1 year contract. At the end of that contract they must apply for another year. Be surprised how much we can teach when you have something on the line!!! So Heather Asiyanbi, this is my solution.

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