Opinion
Education Opinion

ESEA Flexibility Waivers and Growth

By Sara Mead — February 13, 2012 1 min read

I was traveling last week, so I haven’t been able to think or say much about last week’s announcement of federal ESEA waivers for 10 states. One thing I do think is interesting, though, is the relatively limited overlap between the states that applied for and won Round 1 Waivers, and those that received growth model pilot waivers from the previous administration. One might think, given the importance of growth measures for both the new school identification and teacher evaluation systems the waivers require states to describe, that schools that had been approved for the growth model pilot might have a leg up here, but of the 10 states that received ESEA Waivers last week--New Jersey, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Indiana, Colorado, Minnesota, and Oklahoma--only 4--Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, and Tennessee, were approved for the earlier growth model pilot. The move toward teacher evaluations that take into account student growth data seems to be driving some states to move forward with value-added and growth models that haven’t been previously put in place and refined for school-level accountability. This seems a little backwards because using growth or value-added data for teacher evaluation is even more complicated (and higher-stakes) than using it for school level accountability.

The opinions expressed in Sara Mead’s Policy Notebook are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.