No word yet on California’s application for a waiver from the No Child Left Behind law. Literally, no word.
At a press conference last week, in which he announced that six more states would get waivers from NCLB sanctions, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan declined to answer a reporter’s question regarding California’s status, according to Education Week. Read into that what you want, but no comment is probably not good news for California’s non-conforming application.
So far, the federal Department of Education has approved waivers for 33 states, with three more in the hopper. Vermont has dropped out and Iowa, for now, has had its application denied. The states with the waivers won’t have to meet the looming demand that all students be proficient in math and reading by 2014, and they won’t have to label additional schools as failing to meet targets. In return, they have to create their own plans for turning around the worst-performing schools, describe how they will meet career and college readiness goals, describe how they would meet the needs of underperforming subgroups of students, and commit to a teacher evaluation system that includes measuring student progress.
Gov. Jerry Brown and the State Board rejected the teacher evaluation requirement as a state mandate for local districts. Instead, they submitted a different, more limited request for a waiver. It calls for changing the state’s Academic Performance Index to improve instruction in schools with the lowest scores and largest achievement gaps.
States have until Sept. 6 to apply for the last round of waivers. In a press call last week, Duncan left open the possibility that he would allow districts to apply for waivers in states that didn’t apply or had their applications rejected. Eight California districts that comprise CORE (California Office to Reform Education) have indicated they’d be first in line to apply. They include Los Angeles, Long Beach, Sacramento City, and Fresno unified districts.