Monday, September 30th, the Obama Administration approved a waiver for the state of Texas from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), better known as No Child left Behind ,in exchange for state-developed plans which will help prepare students for college and careers, as well as provide aid for students in need, and support effective teaching and leadership.
Highlights from Texas’s ESEA waiver include:
- Texas will now include 3,000 more students with disabilities in its school performance ratings for reading and math, as a result lowering the minimum subgroup size from 50 to 25 (known as “n-size”);
- Texas will now monitor the use of alternate assessment, graduation rates, missing student achievement targets and provide targeted technical assistance to improve efforts;
- Texas will fully implement new teacher and principal evaluations by 2015-2016 and will incorporate student growth as a measure of teacher/principal effectiveness.
So far, 45 states, D.C. Puerto Rico and the Bureau of Indian Education have requested waivers from NCLB. Of these requests, 42 states and D.C. have been approved by the U.S. Department of Education. Other applications are still pending.
One of the most controversial aspects of the ESEA waivers has been the development of new teacher and principal evaluations which include student achievement as a significant factor in determining an educator’s effectiveness. Check out CEC’s Special Education Teacher Evaluation Toolkit for a variety of resources to use when explaining the complex role of a special education teacher during evaluation conversations.
The 42 states that have been approved from NCLB include: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Those states with outstanding requests include: Illinois, Iowa and Wyoming plus the Bureau of Indian.
Those states that have not requested flexibility include: California, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota (request withdrawn), and Vermont (request withdrawn).