West Virginia is filing for a No Child Left Behind waiver for schools
The West Virginia Department of Education is pursuing a flexibility waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind legislation. The law increased school accountability for student academic performance.
The No Child Left Behind law expects all students to be at grade level proficiency in reading and language arts and math by 2014.
Some 26 states and the District of Columbia have already filed for waivers from the legislation following predictions that many schools would not meet the requirement in that timeframe.
West Virginia School Superintendent Jorea Marple recently announced that the state will apply for the No Child Left Behind waiver by September 6, the deadline for the third round of waiver applications.
In her press release, Marple explained that the waiver will provide West Virginia with the needed flexibility to implement the new Next Generation content standards and objectives (CSOs,) expand a teacher evaluation pilot and create a state accountability system that focuses on student learning and growth and school learning strategies.
The state expected that by 2014 no school in West Virginia would meet the stringent No Child Left Behind requirement for adequate yearly progress of 100% student proficiency. Schools would then be labeled as failing and would be at risk of losing needed federal funding.
States had to apply or receive a No Child Left Behind waiver or they would be held fully accountable to the law’s requirements by the U.S. Department of Education.
State education officials felt that the No Child Left Behind legislation evaluates schools based on whether students meet proficiency without regard to growth or improvement from one year to the next.
“Without a waiver, West Virginia would be forced to continue to identify schools with inappropriate measures and labels. What we value in our education system is personalized learning,” Marple said.
To request a waiver, states must show that they are adopting reforms like transitioning to college and career-ready standards, revising teacher and principal evaluations and developing achievable goals and interventions in reading and language arts and math to support improvement.
The state Department of Education will ask that the current No Child Left Behind Adequate Yearly Progress targets are frozen for a year so that more schools aren’t identified as failing.
Still annual exams
Morgan County School Superintendent David Banks said that students will still take yearly assessment exams under the No Child Left Behind waiver, if it is granted. The state is asking for a waiver to keep cut scores at the same level as last year. Cut scores are the minimum score required for mastery of a subject.
West Virginia is moving from the current content standards and objectives to the Next Generation standards in phases, Banks said. Kindergarten is implemented now and three or four more grades will be added next year.
Nationally the standards are called Common Core State Standards. They have been adopted by 47 states so far. The new Next Generation standards incorporate the necessary college and career-ready standards for the waiver.
West Virginia is applying for the waiver, saying that the state’s educational curriculum is changing and that it needs some time to put those changes in place, Banks said.