Rewards for Schools Key Facet of NCLB Waivers
One of the chief complaints about the No Child Left Behind Act has been that districts and schools that fail to meet achievement targets face serious sanctions, while schools that do a good job of closing the gaps between traditionally overlooked groups of students and their peers essentially get little in return.
To help alleviate those concerns, the U.S. Department of Education asked states to identify so-called "reward schools" in their applications for waivers easing demands of the NCLB law, the current version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which Congress has yet to revise. States had to include not only high fliers—schools with consistently high student achievement—but also schools making significant progress with groups of students who had often struggled in the past.
So far, 34 states and the District of Columbia have been approved for the NCLB flexibility. In their applications, states came up with a wide range of criteria for defining reward schools, one of three categories based on school performance, along with a broad array of ideas for giving those schools something...
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