State will seek waiver from No Child Left Behind
by Lindsay Field
lfield@mdjonline.com
August 14, 2011 12:00 AM | 5591 views | 8 8 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — Georgia will apply for a waiver from No Child Left Behind when the U.S. Department of Education offers them to states that are seeing an increase in Adequate Yearly Progress failures, Cobb Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa said.

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).”
Comments
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pbjr
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August 15, 2011
not that I'm a fan of NCLB, but... people play the min-max game all the time. If you reward based off of percentage of success, then people will find the point they get enough reward for their effort and basically stop trying.

A district can say, "we will never be 100%, so lets just hit 80%, that gets us most of the funds we need." That is why hurdles of pass/fail sometimes need to be in place. It is to force compliance. Anytime you have forced compliance, you get grumbling around the water cooler, you get cheating, but you also get a lot of groups who will push to meet the standard.

Your kid is in school, which do you want. 80% is good enough or a finantial stick pushing your school for 100%?
@ Fast at work
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August 15, 2011
This article is about Georgia applying for waivers offered by the Federal Department of Education regarding recognized and unrealistic NCLB standards.

NCLB standards are like saying; Okay kids, jump this 4' hurdle. Some of you are going to make it. Many won't. But, guess what; the class behind you needs to clear 5' and the next one after that needs to clear 6'. IF _____% (insert high number here) of you make 4', 5' and then 6', your school will receive an AYP trophy as long as more and more of you reach higher marks each year in some other categories as well. If not, well I'm sorry to say that your school will be saddled with being on a Needs Improvement event though your school may very well be the best performing school in the county, perhaps event the state.

Hinojosa is right when he says that NCLB standards are "unrealistic." You'd be hard pressed to find an educator anywhere in the country that disagrees with that comment.

Based on the current targets, even the highest achieving schools by today's standards will eventually fail to achieve AYP.
Fast at work!
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August 14, 2011
Seems like Hinojosa is jumping right in to find ways to lower standards to ensure his job security.
skaz53
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August 14, 2011
The No child Left Behind has benefited My Child. He has been in a small classroom setting from K-8. When he was main streamed in high school the Cobb County School system lost Him. I BEGGED for assitance thru the high school to help him. We got no where. If it wasn't for the special funding available to me by the No child Left Behind Act, I would have never been able to afford to place him a private school with smaller classrooms. He has the highest GPA in his class and loves going to school. One size does not fit all when it comes to academics.
Steven W
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August 14, 2011
The dumbing down of our youth continues. If they can not make the grade, lets lower the standard.
MR Marietta
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August 14, 2011
To be brutally honest, teachers are teaching at the lowest common denominator in class with the NCLB program. It is great that they want to help all, but just not a realistic focus. Rather than focusing on the ones that can learn, want to learn, and will be future leaders and job creators in the future, they focus on those who will probably not finish school and end up being the backbone of our blue collar society. So it is actually unfair to those who will and do benefit from an education, who will go on to college(or entrepreneur) and help our country grown. Focus on those that will benefit, dont waste time on those who dont care. And sadly, that poor attitude comes from the home life and values taught by the parents. If they aren't educated and dont see the value, they wont teach it to their kids either.
Bob Stewart
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August 14, 2011
This is great. I could never understand why anyone would think all students should be in the same school. Disruptive, ADA, Troubled children competing for a teacher, is just dumbing down the students who can and wants to learn.
Veracity Justice
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August 14, 2011
Per MDJ, Senor Hinojosa said "I am anxious to be involved ..." Or did the learned doctor mean "eager"? Either way, as regards escaping from dysfunctional schools, it will soon revert to 'no choice for you'. Now I see how an 'open border' proponent got 7 'yes' votes from the Cobbb School Board.
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