Thursday, September 8, 2011

Obama Concedes Part of NCLB is Unenforceable

Huck/Konopacki Labor Cartoons
Conceding that a key provision of NCLB is unenforceable, the Obama Administration has backed off the requirement that schools in the transformation model must tie student test scores to teacher and administrator evaluations, Topics in Education reported today. The U.S. Department of Education has sent letters to every state inviting them to apply for waivers from the requirement and still remain eligible for School Improvement Grants (SIG).

Transformation is one of the four school improvement models required under NCLB for repeatedly failing to meet Adequate Yearly Progress. Schools in the transformation model are eligible for School Improvement Grants to assist in their reforms. They also must replace their principal, increase learning time and develop an evaluation plan that incorporates student test scores. Alternatives for failing schools include closing the school, restarting it as a charter or replacing the principal and at least half its staff.

Deborah Sigman, Deputy Superintendent of the California Department of Education, said that less than half the schools in the transformation model have met the timeline for establishing the teacher and principal evaluation system, according to Topics in Education. Thus, the Obama Administration, like so many other government agencies, has accepted reality and lowered the bar on an ill-conceived reform. Except in this case, lowering the bar will actually reduce the pain somewhat for teachers misfortunate enough to be working at transformation schools.

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