On Monday, the nation’s education department announced that President Barack Obama’s administration would provide a process for states to seek relief from key provisions of the NCLB Act. According to a release from the U.S. Department of Education, the administration has been working alongside U.S. Congress to “fix” NCLB for 16 months.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan said that NCLB is “forcing districts into one-size-fits-all solutions that just don’t work. The President understands this, and he has directed us to move ahead in providing relief — but only for states and districts that are prepared to address our educational challenges.”
“No Child Left Behind has done great things. It holds us accountable for all students,” Hinojosa said at a luncheon last week. “The bad thing is, it’s unrealistic.”
Projections show that approximately 80 percent of America’s public schools will not meet AYP standards by 2014, Hinojosa said.
Hinojosa, who met with State Superintendent Dr. John Barge last week, said that he was sure that Georgia would be applying
for the waiver.
“I am anxious to be involved in that plan and will look forward to working with Barge,” Hinojosa said.
Dr. Judith Jones, CCSD chief accountability and research officer, said the Department of Education is still working out the waivers’ details.
“The last couple of years, Congress has been debating about what to do with No Child Left Behind because it requires 100 percent of students to meet or exceed standards by 2014, which is not a realistic goal,” Jones said.
“Georgia is poised right now at looking at a college- and career-ready model for all students,” Jones said. “So, we not only prepare for post-secondary work, but prepare for a career. It will definitely (prepare the school for career-path programs. It will dovetail beautifully with (what Hinojosa is proposing).”
Jones expects the waivers to consider other criteria to determine if a school makes AYP, including science and social students, writing assessments, AP courses, and ACT and SAT participation.
Right now, AYP is determined by English/language arts and math scores, as well as a secondary indicator such as graduation rate, attendance and test participation.
The Georgia General Assembly passed House Bill 186, also known as the Quality Basic Education Act in May.
Jones said that bill will affect the waivers as well, helping create a statewide accountability standard for districts.
“So, (the waiver) could impact AYP for this coming school year,” Jones said. “For Cobb, it will give them a more balanced approach to what we’re trying to do with our kids.”
Right now, the focus for teachers is on English/language arts and math, and Jones said that schools are increasing pressure to meet those standards.
“It will bring the balance and focus overall for the education programs for the district,” Jones said. “I think it will change the instruction that goes on in those classrooms (science and social studies).”