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An Insider’s Guide to the 11 NCLB Waiver Plans

By Michele McNeil — December 14, 2011 1 min read
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If you haven’t had time to read the thousands of pages that make up the NCLB waiver applications for the first 11 states, that’s okay. Your intrepid Politics K-12 bloggers, along with other EdWeek colleagues, have.

The bottom line: Even if you can make it through the incredible complexity of the states’ accountability plans, and the sometimes surprising vagueness of states’ teacher-evaluation and turnaround plans, you will be left with a lot of questions about what this new state-led accountability looks like. To be fair, these first-round states had mere weeks to complete their plans, which are meant to take the place of a comprehensive federal accountability law. And, the U.S. Department of Education and its outside peer reviewers will presumably work to shore up states’ plans, and deal with those unanswered questions.

If you want to read the applications, check out the map below. (Set it in motion, then click on the state to see a link to its application.)

Otherwise, for an overview of how the states are proposing to grade schools and hold them accountable—including an intriguing emphasis on a new “super” subgroup—check out this story.

For a look inside how these states plan to implement common core standards and common assessments, check out Catherine Gewertz’s story, which shows that teachers are often the last to be trained on the new standards.

For an in-depth look at how states plan to comply with the Education Department’s requirements on teacher evaluations, read Stephen Sawchuk’s piece, which shines a light on most states’ reluctance to acknowledge the role of collective bargaining in those plans.

If you want to learn about states’ plans to turn around 15 percent of their worst schools, then check out Alyson Klein’s story, which reveals the lack of creativity on the part of some states. However, the story also points out that this lack of creativity may be because the Education Department’s requirements were somewhat stifling.

And if you want to gauge the impact these waivers will have on English-language learners, read Lesli Maxwell’s two blog posts that zero in on the plans of Florida, New Mexico and Massachusetts.

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