Today, CEC’s Deb Ziegler attended a White House event where President Obama and Secretary Duncan announced that 10 states received waivers from the requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act currently known as No Child Left Behind (ESEA/NCLB). The waivers allow states to replace ESEA/NCLB targets with targets of their own. To get the waivers states had to demonstrate that they adopted college and career-ready standards in addition to comprehensive systems of teacher and principal development, evaluation and support.
In total, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Tennessee all received waivers. Only New Mexico did not. Administration officials indicated, however, that they continue to work with New Mexico to ensure its application is also approved.
Although every state will have a different accountability plan, the Department indicated some things will be consistent across the board. Of primary importance to CEC members, all states must continue to disaggregate data by subgroup, including students with disabilities, and all states must continue to require achievement toward annual measurable objectives for all subgroups.CEC will review the approved applications closely to understand how states plan to incorporate special educators and gifted educators into the new teacher evaluation systems. This is an area of acute concern for CEC, as many systems across the country are struggling with how to appropriately include educators who work with students with disabilities and/or those with gifts and talents. It will be something we watch closely. To read CEC’s Recommendations on how evaluation systems can better serve special and gifted educators, click here.
Close to 28 other states have indicated they will apply for waivers in the second round. CEC is pleased the Department worked so closely with states and that it included disability representation on all of the panels that reviewed the waiver applications. CEC continues to urge Congress and the Administration to complete a full reauthorization of ESEA. While waivers may assist states in the short term, they are not a substitute for the comprehensive system-wide change that is needed. To read CEC’s full ESEA recommendations, click here. CEC will closely examine the systems put forth by states to understand how students with disabilities will be included. CEC will also continue to work with the Department to ensure that the waivers are appropriately enforced.
To read CEC’s letter outlining its concerns click here.
To read the Department of Education’s information about ESEA waivers, click here.