Thursday, September 5, 2013
Derek recently posted about the Campaign for High School Equity's concern that No Child Left Behind (NCLB) waivers may dilute efforts to close the achievement gap for at-risk students. The Department of Education's most recent guidance letter may be trying to address that concern by adding new requirements for NCLB waiver extensions. NCLB waivers already require states to develop teacher-evaluations, but the ED will now also require them to "commit to ensuring that poor and minority students are not taught at higher rates than other children by ineffective teachers." Interestingly, the text of the ESEA reads that states must "ensure that poor and minority children are not taught at higher rates than other children by inexperienced, unqualified, or out-of-field teachers," which presumably is not intended to define "ineffective" teachers in the renewal requirement. If the ESEA definition governs, it may be a sticky situation for districts that are replacing veteran teachers with temporary ones. Under the new guidelines, renewing school districts must also show that any Title II funds spent for professional development must "deepen [educators'] knowledge of college- and career-ready standards" and that development must be "evidence-based." Forty-one states, the District of Columbia, and eight California school districts have waivers from certain requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) (as amended by NCLB). Thirty-five states were approved in the first two rounds of flexibility waivers, which expire at the end of the 2013-14 school year. Those states and districts may extend their ESEA flexibility waivers to the 2015-16 school year. Read the ED's statement here.