Your Education Road Map

Politics K-12®

ESSA. Congress. State chiefs. School spending. Elections. Education Week reporters keep watch on education policy and politics in the nation’s capital and in the states. Read more from this blog.


Mass., Tenn. Praised in New Report on NCLB Waiver Plans

By Michele McNeil — December 20, 2011 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A new report from the Center for American Progress identifies the two states that are stand outs among a field of 11 that submitted applications for the first round of waivers under No Child Left Behind. But there are questions—sometimes big questions—surrounding key parts of the remaining nine states’ plans.

The new report, out this morning, identifies potentially significant weaknesses in some states’ plans, including: a lack of attention to individual subgroups, and a lack of information about the capacity to actually implement new teacher-evaluation systems.

Some of these findings—such as a new emphasis on “super subgroups"—were covered in EdWeek’s extensive package of stories about the waivers.

So the report adds to the growing body of research into the promises, and pitfalls, of these new state-led accountability systems. (The report has a number of really handy charts that examine different issues, such as state approaches to teacher evaluations, on a state-by-state basis.)

The Center’s Jeremy Ayers, a senior education policy analyst, evaluated states on how clear their goals and school ratings were, how they treated subgroups in their accountability systems, and how ready they were to implement new evaluation systems, among other things.

Along those lines, two states turned in “stand out” applications: Massachusetts and Tennessee, which were praised for clear and challenging goals, ready-to-implement evaluation systems, and solid data infrastructures. The report, however, does still raise concerns about Massachusetts’ attention to subgroups, and raises red flags about problems Tennessee has had in implementing its new teacher-evaluation system.

Five states were classified as “middle of the pack": Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Minnesota, and New Mexico, which had some positives and negatives. Among the problems in these states: Colorado’s data system can’t link student data to individual or multiple teachers, Florida’s plan makes it unclear whether schools would be held accountable for subgroup performance, and Indiana didn’t specify what factors would be used in new teacher evaluations. In Minnesota’s plan, student achievement goals were not clearly ambitious, and New Mexico needs legislation to enact its teacher-evaluation plans.

The remaining four states fell in the “needs more detail” category: Georgia, Kentucky, New Jersey, and Oklahoma. Among Georgia’s problems are its lack of a growth model, and Kentucky is dinged for setting confusing goals (which involve things like “standard deviations”). New Jersey doesn’t provide much detail at all on its new accountability system, while Oklahoma’s rating system seems a bit confusing, the report found.

What’s more, the Center has some good advice for the Education Department: Don’t rush to approve every application, demand more information (especially about subgroups, teacher-evaluation reforms, and reducing burden on districts, and schools), and carefully scrutinize how each state deals with subgroups.

Commenting has been disabled on effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal White House Launches Hispanic Education Initiative Led by Miguel Cardona
President Joe Biden said his administration intends to address the "systemic causes" of educational disparities faced by Hispanic students.
2 min read
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona writes down and draws positive affirmations on poster board with students during his visit to P.S. 5 Port Morris, a Bronx elementary school, Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021 in New York.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visits students in New York City at P.S. 5 Port Morris, a Bronx elementary school in the Bronx last month.
Brittainy Newman/AP
Federal Feds Add Florida to List of States Under Investigation Over Restrictions on Mask Mandates
The Education Department told the state Sept. 10 it will probe whether its mask rule is violating the rights of students with disabilities.
3 min read
Surrounded by lawmakers, Florida Gov.Ron DeSantis speaks at the end of a legislative session on April 30, 2021, in Tallahassee, Fla.
Surrounded by lawmakers, Florida Gov.Ron DeSantis speaks at the end of a legislative session on April 30, 2021, in Tallahassee, Fla.
Wilfredo Lee/AP
Federal How Biden Will Mandate Teacher Vaccines, Testing in Some States That Don't Require Them
President Joe Biden's COVID-19 plan will create new teacher vaccination and testing requirements in some states through worker safety rules.
4 min read
Nurse Sara Muela, left, administers the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to educator Rebecca Titus at a vaccination site setup for teachers and school staff at the Berks County Intermediate Unit in Reading, Pa., on March 15, 2021.
Nurse Sara Muela administers a COVID-19 vaccine to educator Rebecca Titus at a vaccination site for at the Berks County Intermediate Unit in Reading, Pa.
Matt Rourke/AP
Federal Biden Pushes Schools to Expand COVID-19 Testing, Get More Teachers Vaccinated
President Joe Biden set teacher vaccine requirements for federally operated schools as part of a new effort to drive down COVID's spread.
7 min read
President Joe Biden speaks in the State Dining Room at the White House, Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, in Washington. Biden is announcing sweeping new federal vaccine requirements affecting as many as 100 million Americans in an all-out effort to increase COVID-19 vaccinations and curb the surging delta variant.
President Joe Biden in a speech from the White House announces sweeping new federal vaccine requirements and other efforts in an renewed effort to stem the COVID-19 pandemic.
Andrew Harnik/AP