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Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

Topic: No Child Left Behind

You are viewing the most recent posts on this topic.

August 13, 2014 at 11:52 AM

Districts protest: Our schools aren’t failing

Because most Washington school districts don’t have 100 percent of their students passing state math and reading tests, the federal No Child Left Behind law says they must send letters to families explaining why.

But the districts don’t have to like it and 28 school superintendents have jointly written a second letter they will send along with the first, which explains why they think their schools are doing much better than the No Child letters make it seem.

“Some of our state’s and districts’ most successful and highly recognized schools are now being labeled ‘failing’ by an antiquated law that most educators and elected officials — as well as the U.S. Department of Education — acknowledge isn’t working,” the cover letter states.

The letter is signed by John Welch, Superintendent of the Puget Sound Educational Service District, which represents the 28 districts.

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Comments | More in News, Seattle Public Schools | Topics: NCLB waiver, No Child Left Behind, Puget Sound Educational Service District

August 7, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Should state sue Arne Duncan to get No Child waiver back?

Bill Keim

Bill Keim

The executive director of the association that represents Washington school superintendents says Washington state should challenge the revocation of the state’s waiver from the No Child Left Behind law in federal court.

In April, Washington became the first state in the country to lose its waiver when state lawmakers decided against mandating the use of state test scores in teacher evaluations.

In his group’s August newsletter, Executive Director Bill Keim tells the members of the Washington Association of School Administrators that he’s long been concerned about the “unfettered federal intervention into what used to be the states’ domain — operating our public schools.”

Which is why Keim likes the idea of challenging the waiver revocation in federal court, an idea floated last month by Michael Petrilli, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, an education policy group based in Washington D.C.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: Bill Keim, No Child Left Behind, teacher evaluation

July 21, 2014 at 5:03 PM

No go: Feds deny state request to reinstate part of No Child waiver

Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn (Photo by Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times)

Randy Dorn

As we reported earlier today on the Today File blog, the U.S. Department of Education has denied Washington state’s request to reinstate one piece of the state’s former No Child Left Behind waiver.

As a result, most schools in the state will be required to send letters to parents before school starts this fall, telling them their schools are falling short of the federal test-score requirements. By 2014, the No Child law had required a 100 percent passage rates on state tests in reading and math in grades 3-8 and 10.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn had asked that schools be spared the need to send those letters, but the U.S. Department of Education said no.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: No Child Left Behind, Randy Dorn, waiver

May 29, 2014 at 3:16 PM

Guest: Waiver loss shines light on absurdity of No Child Left Behind

Dan Magill

Dan Magill

I am not bothered about losing our state’s No Child Left Behind waiver. In fact, this may be one of the best things to happen to education in Washington since standardized testing wrapped its shackles around us last decade.

Losing this waiver is good because it finally exposes No Child Left Behind for the utter foolishness that it is.

Here’s the letter I would send to parents if I worked in the state superintendent’s office:

Dear Mr. And Mrs. Colbert:

We must inform you that your child currently attends a school that has been labeled “failing” or “needs improvement” according to the No Child Left Behind Act.

According to the law, you now have the option of switching your child into a school that is not failing. Unfortunately, because 99 percent of schools in the state have received this label, you’ll have to move out of state to find one.

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Comments | More in Guest opinion, Opinion | Topics: Dan Magill, No Child Left Behind, waiver

April 24, 2014 at 11:49 AM

Round-up: State loses No Child Left Behind waiver, study finds low-income students get less sleep

Washington first state in country to lose NCLB waiver: U.S. education chief Arne Duncan revoked Washington’s No Child Left Behind waiver on Thursday, making the state subject to many requirements of the federal education law. The move comes after lawmakers declined to make student test scores a part of teacher evaluations as mandated by the Obama administration.

Study: Low-income students less likely to get enough sleep (Los Angeles Times): A study in western Pennsylvania found that disadvantaged students “are faced with challenges that may result in different sleep patterns.” The results of the study are featured in the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: No Child Left Behind, round-up, waiver

April 22, 2014 at 11:11 AM

Guest: Let’s call a truce on teacher evaluations

HAUSMAN_BioPhoto

Todd Hausman

Common sense is hardly commonplace in education policy today. Alliances are formed in Olympia, yet nobody is playing to let anyone else win. As a result of this mutual distrust, no improvements were made to our evaluation system during the recent legislative session.

Teacher evaluations have really become the crisis du jour in public education. Washington is at risk of losing its waiver from No Child Left Behind requirements and thus its control over approximately $40 million for low-income students. However, the debate in Olympia has largely been about preserving the quantity of federal funds, not the quality and strength of our teacher-evaluation system. So, while legislators were busy quarreling over whether to make student growth on statewide tests part of evaluations, they missed other opportunities to make actual improvements.

Done well, teaching is a highly complex art, and an evaluation of that art should not be simplistic. Evaluations should also be reliable enough to inspire trust among educators. The Washington State Teacher/Principal Evaluation Pilot (TPEP), first introduced in 2010, was definitely a step in the right direction. Teachers and principals are more focused on what students are learning than ever before, and they are looking at evidence of student growth. Yet, teacher evaluations haven’t exactly achieved a state of nirvana. In fact, there are several concrete ways in which they could still be improved.

With TPEP, a single observer still largely determines teacher evaluations. Usually, this is a school administrator. Even if that person is a dynamic instructional leader, and some are not, evaluation based on a single observer is bad science all the way around. So we still have a system that is devoid of checks and balances. That’s why we should consider multiple measures of a teacher’s effectiveness, such as student perception surveys and peer reviews, to increase reliability and fairness.

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Comments | More in Guest opinion, Opinion | Topics: No Child Left Behind, teacher evaluations, Todd Hausman