Georgia liberated from No Child’s accountability measures

The AJC is reporting that Georgia is expected to be liberated today from requirements of No Child Left Behind, the sweeping federal education reform that required all students demonstrate proficiency in math and reading by 2014. Saying that the goal was unrealistic and proposing alternative competency measures, Georgia was among 11 states seeking waivers.

However, I listened to a panel a few weeks ago in which one of the key players in No Child, former Bush education Secretary Margaret Spellings, lamented the waivers as a retreat from our commitment to children and an acquiescence to adults.

Without deadlines for improvement on states, Spellings said the federal government was simply “putting money out there and hoping for the best. We tried for for 40 years and had flat achievement and a growing gap.”

She defended the 2014 deadline for requiring that all students perform at grade-level, saying that it was not unreasonable for parents to expect their children to be able to get the material being taught in their grades. “It is staggering to me — if you went to a school and they told you that they thought they could  get your kid on grade level in 12 years, you’d have him out of there before noon.”

According to the AJC:

The first 10 states to receive the waivers are Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Tennessee. The only state that applied for the flexibility and did not get it, New Mexico, is working with the administration to get approval, a White House official told the AP.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the states had not yet been announced. A total of 28 other states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have signaled that they, too, plan to seek waivers — a sign of just how vast the law’s burdens have become as a big deadline nears.

No Child Left Behind requires all students to be proficient in reading and math by 2014. Obama’s action strips away that fundamental requirement for those approved for flexibility, provided they offer a viable plan instead. Under the deal, the states must show they will prepare children for college and careers, set new targets for improving achievement among all students, reward the best performing schools and focus help on the ones doing the worst.

In September, Obama called President George W. Bush’s most hyped domestic accomplishment an admirable but flawed effort that hurt students instead of helping them. He said action was necessary because Congress failed to update the law despite widespread bipartisan agreement that it needs fixing. Republicans have charged that by granting waivers, Obama was overreaching his authority.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

67 comments Add your comment

ABC

February 9th, 2012
8:48 am

GOOD FREAKIN RIDDANCE!!!!!!

Sybill

February 9th, 2012
8:54 am

American schools cannot teach kids to be proficient in math and reading so they just get rid of the requirement. Sounds typical.

C Jae of EAV

February 9th, 2012
9:04 am

How many of the states granted waivers are among the list recieving RTTT funding?

me

February 9th, 2012
9:04 am

Afraid the cure will be worse than the disease. Not a lot of confidence in the boondoggle that the DOE is promoting. We’ll see.

Waiver still has requirements

February 9th, 2012
9:05 am

Has anyone here actually read the waiver? It still has requirements, the difference that I see is that teachers are evaluated by more than just one criteria, the CRCT.

Good Mom

C Jae of EAV

February 9th, 2012
9:07 am

Furthermore, with 28 additional states waiting in the wings are we essentially saying that NCLB will be wisked away by simple adminstrtive technicality (i.e Presendential Wavier)?

Granted I’m no fan of NCLB just asking curious questions. I figure if the President is on pace to release more than half of the state from NCLB obligations via wavier, then why bother to keep the law on the books anyway?

Dunwoody Mom

February 9th, 2012
9:12 am

Well, if Congress would get off its collective behinds and come up with a reauthorization of ESEA (NCLB)…but, as with everything in Washington these days, partisan politics is getting in the way.

WAR

February 9th, 2012
9:45 am

no child left behind never put children ahead.

cobbmom

February 9th, 2012
9:58 am

The problem with NCLB is that children with disabilities are held to the same standards as chidlren receiving gifted services. It is not realistic to expect a child with an IQ of 75 to score the same as a child with an IQ of 120. We need to celebrate the achievements that children make within their abilities. I currently have a student who has increased their reading score over 250 points, but since she is still below grade level under NCLB she is considered a failure. To me she is a superstar who has worked diligently to improve herself.

high school teacher

February 9th, 2012
10:07 am

Sybill, What do you mean by proficient? Can you name one country that requires **all** of its children to be “proficient” in math and reading?

Were Out!

February 9th, 2012
10:19 am

This law has done so much damage to our children. Let’s hope that we can help them to learn how to learn again instead of being test taking monkeys!

Teacher Stuck in a Useless Meeting

February 9th, 2012
10:19 am

Honestly, this waiver is annoying. If the President doesn’t have enough faith in NCLB to enforce it, then it needs to be done away with. I hate to even think about what Georgia will replace it with. Georgia teachers will now have their toes held to the fire in a that they never had before. Students will see no change in actually learning anything as social promotion and the lowering of test standards will still go on.

Inman Park Boy

February 9th, 2012
10:19 am

No standards = No progress. Georgia students will continue to wallow in the mire of a mediocre public school system.

Dunwoody Mom

February 9th, 2012
10:20 am

Only Congress can do away with ESEA (NCLB). It is the law of the land.

Take a look

February 9th, 2012
10:23 am

Take a look

February 9th, 2012
10:28 am

Take a look

February 9th, 2012
10:29 am

What is that? 4 or 5 new testing times a year?

Take a look

February 9th, 2012
10:32 am

Summative Assessment Components:
Performance-Based Assessment (PBA) administered as close to the end of the school year as possible. The ELA/literacy PBA will focus on writing effectively when analyzing text. The mathematics PBA will focus on applying skills, concepts, and understandings to solve multi-step problems requiring abstract reasoning, precision, perseverance, and strategic use of tools
End-of-Year Assessment (EOY) administered after approx. 90% of the school year. The ELA/literacy EOY will focus on reading comprehension. The math EOY will be comprised of innovative, machine-scorable items
Formative Assessment Components:
Early Assessment designed to be an indicator of student knowledge and skills so that instruction, supports and professional development can be tailored to meet student needs
Mid-Year Assessment comprised of performance-based items and tasks, with an emphasis on hard-to-measure standards. After study, individual states may consider including as a summative component

In addition to the nineteen (19) items within the Georgia College and Career Ready Performance Index, high schools may earn additional points for these six supplemental indicators:

Percent of students completing three credits in the same world language
Percent of graduated students taking the SAT or ACT
Percent of students earning credit in a physics course
Percent of ninth-grade students earning 4 Carnegie Unit Credits in 4 core content areas
Percent of graduated students qualifying for the Zell Miller Scholarship as awarded through legislative guidelines managed by the Georgia Student Finance Commission

To Be Considered at a Later Date
Percent of tested students scoring at a proficient level on a Soft Skills Assessment
Percent of tested students earning an AFQT score of 35 or higher on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery
Percent of tested students scoring ‘College Ready’ on the COMPASS examination
School’s average score on the Georgia Teacher Effectiveness Measurement
School’s average score on the Georgia Leader Effectiveness Measurement
Percent of students participating in the PLAN examination
Percent of graduates completing Work Based Learning or a Senior Project
School has earned a Georgia Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Program Certification

Take a look

February 9th, 2012
10:33 am

Time to invest in a paper company

Take a look

February 9th, 2012
10:34 am

In addition to the thirteen (13) items within the Georgia College and Career Ready Performance Index, elementary schools may earn additional points for these six supplemental indicators:

Percent of students enrolled in world language courses
Percent of students enrolled in fine arts courses
Percent of students in grades one through five with documented data for the Fitnessgram assessment
Percent of students in grade five scoring at exceeds in science
Percent of students in grade three scoring at exceeds in mathematics
Percent of students in grade five scoring at exceeds in reading

To Be Considered at a Later Date
School’s average score on the Georgia Teacher Effectiveness Measurement
School’s average score on the Georgia Leader Effectiveness Measurement
Percent of students in grades one through five advancing to above grade level subject acceleration and/or whole grade acceleration

Take a look

February 9th, 2012
10:35 am

The foundation of the GaCCRPI is the college and career ready indicators
The indicators are grouped by categories at each school level
A percentage rate will be calculated for each indicator
Scores will be provided in 3 areas to arrive at the Overall School Score:
Achievement Score
Progress Score
Achievement Gap Closure Score
Schools will also receive Star Ratings in two areas:
Financial Efficiency
School Climate

Take a look

February 9th, 2012
10:35 am

In addition to the thirteen (13) items within the Georgia College and Career Ready Performance Index, middle schools may earn additional points for these seven supplemental indicators:

Percent of students successfully completing three years of courses in the fine arts and/or one world language and/or career exploratory
Percent of students in grade eight scoring proficient/advanced on the 21st Century Skills Technology Assessment
Percent of students in grades six and seven with a fully documented Fitnessgram assessment
Percent of students in grade eight scoring at exceeds in science
Percent of students in grade eight scoring at exceeds in mathematics
Percent of students in grade eight scoring at exceeds in social studies
Percent of eighth grade students earning at least one high school credit

To Be Considered at a Later Date
School’s average score on the Georgia Teacher Effectiveness Measurement
School’s average score on the Georgia Leader Effectiveness Measurement
Percent of students in grades six through eight advancing to above grade level subject acceleration and/or whole grade acceleration

Take a look

February 9th, 2012
10:37 am

So…

When will they be teaching?

Lot of job security for paperpushers, educrats and consultants in the GA waiver requirements

Georgia Wins NCLB Waiver | COE Policy Blog

February 9th, 2012
10:59 am

[...] AYP is soon to be replaced with AMO. Georgia is one of ten states that won a waiver from the U. S. Department of Education, releasing it from meeting the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act. The AJC has more coverage here, and Maureen Downey, over at Get Schooled, offers some commentary here. [...]

Beverly Fraud

February 9th, 2012
11:04 am

Re: Margaret Spellings

“She defended the 2014 deadline for requiring that all students perform at grade-level.”

Does Time magazine have an Idiot of the Year? Decade? Century? Millennium?

999 students qualify for college scholarships and one student, in school ONLY to avoid jail for a crystal meth conviction fails his exams, and the ENTIRE school is a failure?

And Margaret Spellings defends this policy? ..

Vince

February 9th, 2012
11:05 am

The notion that all children would achieve at grade level was preposterous. Anyone who has taken Psychology 101 should have known better. This conservative Republican says “Thank you!” to President Obama.

Someone FINALLY displayed some common sense.

Beverly Fraud

February 9th, 2012
11:08 am

But don’t forget the bonus points a school in Georgia can earn for applying rigorosity to the rigorousness of rigor with an emphasis on rigorcentric rigor.

Beverly Fraud

February 9th, 2012
11:26 am

In retrospect, it was an error in judgement to suggest Time magazine name Margaret Spellings Idiot of the Year. The implication could be that amongst HUMANS she is the most idiotic one.

Humans is FAR too limiting a category, to describe that level of idiocy.

The Deal

February 9th, 2012
11:51 am

Maybe now DeKalb can stop with the stupid “annex” idea to give AYP-failing students another option.

teacher

February 9th, 2012
11:58 am

Spellings is wrong on this. NCLB only hurt instruction and schools graduatd students with less skills and knowledge than before the law went into effect. Teachers became public enemy number one and no responsibilty was placed on students or parents.

Kindergarten Teacher

February 9th, 2012
12:04 pm

As a Kindergarten Teacher, I believe that law makers should come and sit in a classroom and see how long they last!!

A Teacher

February 9th, 2012
12:06 pm

I predict you will soon have a teacher shortage in Georgia. The county that I teach in is a part of Race to the Top. In non-EOCT classes a teacher’s evaluation will be partly based on student and parent surveys. Good luck with that.

3schoolkids

February 9th, 2012
12:17 pm

We are “liberated” from nothing. While I agree with evaluation of a child’s performance in relation to curriculum standards, there is still so much disagreement as to how this should be done. The state’s answer is to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks. What about the child who has a learning deficit in just one area? The current option is to complete k-12 education and either meet ALL standards OR graduate with a diploma that will NOT get you into a college. If you opt for GED instead of Diploma, you have no choice but technical college. In the interest of providing both a skilled technical labor force and non-technical, white collar labor force we are forcing people into a caste system (that will now begin in 9th grade thanks to the CTAE pathways) and leaving a whole segment of our society out in the cold. What, for example, does a student who can meet all other objectives except Math (due to something like Dyscalculia) do for their future? Maybe move to another state? What if that student is in fact exceptionally talented in the area of writing but can’t graduate because they cannot complete the math requirement? What about all the moderate and high functioning autistic students moving through our system? Are they doomed to bag groceries the rest of their lives? We need options, not boxes to put our kids in.

Dr. Craig Spinks/Georgians for Educational Excellence

February 9th, 2012
12:45 pm

KUDOS to Dr. John Barge and his reform team at GDOE for their successful efforts in persuading the USDOE to waive NCLB requirements here and in permitting Georgia to replace them with more valid student performance measures. These new measures may not be perfect but they are better than what they replace. The measures are a move in the direction of real student accountability.

Proud Teacher

February 9th, 2012
12:47 pm

Enter your comments here

Beverly Fraud

February 9th, 2012
12:50 pm

To say Spellings is merely “wrong” is akin to saying the people who didn’t invest in Microsoft because “there’s no future in personal computing” were merely “wrong” as well.

Understanding Atlanta

February 9th, 2012
12:51 pm

This waiver is a start in the right direction. The best way to evaluate teachers is not simple and requires school administrators, many of whom were not the best teachers, would need to take test scores of students to see progress year over year. Teachers should NOT be evaluated on how many students make grade level, rather on the progress a student makes from the previous year.

There is no doubt about it this technique requires more work from the local schools. Having a team that looks at each student individually and see how much progress has this teacher made with the child. Apparently this seems too difficult, places too much blame downstream, allow schools to see where the disconnect happened and pinpoint which grade level progress stopped. Besides the fact every student should be able to chart a reasonable course of action based on their abilities which should include all technical options and college prep, there are so many things that can be done to help students and prepare a well educated workforce – be it blue or white collar.

Maybe if Georgia didn’t have this idea that every child should be put on the same track and allow 1) ability based grouping of students, 2) access to technical offerings in high schools, and 3) greater autonomy of the local school to address it’s own challenges it would indeed rise to top on it’s own without gimmicks from the federal government.

For instance, when in elementary school, school leadership realized students weren’t getting dinner at home, parents lacked basic skills needed for many jobs, and as a result students were struggling. In response, with help from the teachers and staff, the school created a Parent Center that taught parents basic computer skills and helped with job searches for those parents out of work. In addition, the cafeteria staff would prepare dinner on those nights so at least students would get 1 or 2 nights of a hot dinner. When local schools have more autonomy on how it relates to it’s community, since this can vary greatly even within a single district, they are able to develop viable solutions that work.

To A Teacher

February 9th, 2012
1:00 pm

You write “I predict you will soon have a teacher shortage in Georgia.”

You would like that wouldn’t you? You think that would mean that you would likely get more money or that people who give you more respect or that people would treat you better.

In this economy? Not gonna happen.
In this state? Not gonna happen.

If you were a teacher AND a football coach, you bet it would.

To teacher from Good Mom

February 9th, 2012
1:04 pm

You wrote “Teachers became public enemy number one and no responsibilty was placed on students or parents.”

That’s not true. When children miss school nowadays (five or more days) they get a visit from the social worker and they can ben fined. I had to sign a document that says so.

Of course we parents have obligations and responsibilities and when we do not care for our kids, DFACs steps in to put them into foster care.
You exaggerate, teacher. Just admi it and then say what is really true — that you feel frustrated. GM.

Bruce Kendall

February 9th, 2012
1:10 pm

Allowing states to renege on their responsibilities mandated by “No Child Left Behind without a high-quality basic education” is a terrible mistake. What we are getting is less responsibility, and less accountability. Still with minimal focus on “Building Better Students,” professional development for teachers and principals, and engaging parents responsibly as part of the educational process, and school community. The question is – when this plays out whom will all of the whiners blame for minimal and or no significant improvement?

A Teacher

February 9th, 2012
1:25 pm

to a teacher. Nope I don’t care. I’m getting out. Teacher was once an honored profession that has been destroyed by politicians who have no clue.

High School Parent

February 9th, 2012
1:25 pm

Maureen, the article says “beginning next fall” … the changes will take effect. In DeKalb county, the mandatory AYP transfers have reached such a level that entire schools are either gutted or dangerously over crowded or students are placed in annexes. So will DeKalb and other Georgia school systems have one last year of AYP “School Choice” transfers since these are determined over the summer? Or are the school systems now free from this punitive measure and able to pursue more realistic ways to provide a better educational opportunity to students in their home schools this fall?

Truth

February 9th, 2012
1:28 pm

I am with you ABC G-O-O-D………………….and much LOVE to all the educators

Maureen Downey

February 9th, 2012
1:34 pm

@High, Sent your note to DOE and got this back from Matt Cardoza:

I just got a clarification:
There will be no school choice “for NCLB purposes” after this school year, but they can have choice based on state law.

DOE is sending out a release that should explain it, says Matt, and I will post when I get it.

John Konop

February 9th, 2012
2:05 pm

I hope the state and local communities use this to transform the schools with the focus on an multi-track system cordinated with colleges, JC, vo-tech……..while students are in high school. We could use the administrative cost savings and even wire schools to have classrooms connected with the above, which not only would save money in the long-run, it would more importantly match the best instructors with students.

We must also change the system from a teach to the test system to instead having school systems graded on a combination of graduation rates, skills with job placement or acceptance into college. A big part of unemployment is the schools system not matching the skills employers are seeking. Which is why we must cordinated people in the local business community working with the schools system on skill needs not the current system that has the federal government telling us what we need ie NCLB.

Dunwoody Mom

February 9th, 2012
2:06 pm

Maureen, I’m assuming “state law” includes HB251, Charter school application laws, etc.?

Lynn

February 9th, 2012
2:17 pm

The issue with No Child Left Behind is it did just that and made teachers teach to the test and not teach. @ John Konop- you are so right schools need to be revamped. Schools use to cater to all types of students. Every child is not meant to go into the military or college. Trades can make a comeback and this would in turn bring back some of the very jobs we will always need and are lacking now. The new regulations should include all stakeholders. If you look at states where the UNIONS are strong you will see constant achievement that happened for decades. Most people think that Teachers UNIONS are there to ruin education. No they are there to make sure everyone has rights – if you ever look at a contract it says- this contract is binding between parents, teachers, admin. and students. So if you want to make everyone accountable either come up with a contract for all stakeholders or form a UNION! UNION’s protect workers rights, parent’s rights as well as children’s rights- all are protected from Politicians who never step foot in a classroom and from frivilous school boards! And yes I have been a part of teachers UNION’s and they serve everyone!

Thomas

February 9th, 2012
2:48 pm

The US publc education ranking for math and Science worldwide has dropped to 25th place. Of interest higher ranking countries are in the Far East and Europe . The vast amount of US Public schools are now populated by third world students from areas such as Central America, Mexico and recent inflow from Africa ,Mideast and island nations . None of these legal or illegal immigrant’s native countries rank in the top 50 in Math and science achievements. It is futile to think if this is the future of America these students will be able to compete in a world market for jobs.

John

February 9th, 2012
3:13 pm

The solution is simple, private schools. Why should we pay for inferior schools?

SBinF

February 9th, 2012
3:23 pm

First an end to Iraq, then Afghanistan, now NCLB.

It’s been less than 4 years and Dubya’s legacy has already ended.

I would laugh, but it would minimize the gravity of his actions.