On February 9, 2012, President Obama announced that 10 states would be released from the requirements of No Child Left Behind. These states approved include Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. “The administration is continuing to work closely with New Mexico, the eleventh state that requested flexibility in the first round. Twenty-eight other states along with D.C. and Puerto Rico have indicated their intent to seek waivers”. (http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/president-obama-our-children-cant-wait-congress-fix-no-child-left-behind-announc)
In states granted a waiver, students will still be tested annually. The states will have the right to determine what interventions should be used. The school’s performance will also probably be labeled differently. In other words, instead of basing student proficiency on the scores on a state test, percentage of progress for individual students may be considered and used.
It should be noted that the process for requesting flexibility involves submitting proposals that document “a strong commitment to core reforms that boost student achievement”. To receive flexibility from NCLB, “states must adopt and have a plan to implement college and career-ready standards. They must also create comprehensive systems of teacher and principal development, evaluation and support that include factors beyond test scores, such as principal observation, peer review, student work, or parent and student feedback.” (ed.gov)
The National Education Association, although encouraged by the announcement presented by President Obama and Department of Education Secretary Duncan, are still cautious about what must take place on the parts of the states receiving the release from NCLB requirements. NEA supports the temporary fix but will continue to motivate Congress to revamp the entire NCLB law. Dennis Van Roekel, NEA President released a statement that said, “Any ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act) reauthorization bill must ensure that all students have access to quality early education, well-rounded instruction, a safe and supportive learning environment, and access to qualified, caring, and committed teachers. As a nation, we must do more to implement a new vision of public education that helps all students succeed."
Students who are preparing to be teachers need to stay in tune with the developments linked with state releases from No Child Left Behind requirements. The question will be will local educators in the states that received waivers have the power to meet the needs of their students according to what they believe and know are the best methods.
Other links to check include:
(NEA’s position on recent decision)
(NEA’s position on NCLB and ESEA)
(previous federal government plan linked with NCLB reform)
(administration fact sheet)
Donna Hupe teaches ED 101 – Field Experience I and has been a Pre-Student Teacher/Student Teacher Supervisor at Saint Vincent College for the past five and a half years.