Federal Report Roundup

NCLB Policies Live On Despite Waivers

By Holly Kurtz — February 25, 2014 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The No Child Left Behind Act waivers granted by the U.S. Department of Education were intended in part to give states flexibility from some of the policies that were viewed as problematic in the federal law.

But a new analysis finds that, when it comes to the accountability systems states use to identify low-performing schools, many states with waivers are continuing some of the same policies. According to the report, these problems include an over-reliance on one-time snapshots of student performance in reading and mathematics and a reluctance to consider non-test-based indicators such as attendance rates or longer-term postsecondary outcomes.

The study, in the January/February issue of the peer-reviewed journal Educational Researcher, evaluates the validity, reliability, fairness, and transparency of the waivers, which have been granted to 42 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. (Puerto Rico is not included in the analysis, though.) More than half of the waiver states—24—allow for the continuation of the NCLB practice of using proficiency rates as one way to identify low-performing schools.

Even in the 20 states that use student-growth measures, change over time is just one piece of a composite measure used to identify low-performing schools, according to the study, which was led by Morgan S. Polikoff, an assistant professor of education at the University of Southern California. And five states—Arkansas, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and West Virginia—rely entirely on proficiency rates to identify low-performing schools.

The authors conclude, however, that waivers are still an improvement over the original law, pointing to accountability system innovations created under the waivers in Massachusetts and Michigan.

A version of this article appeared in the February 26, 2014 edition of Education Week as NCLB Policies Live On Despite Waivers

Events

Special Education Webinar Reading, Dyslexia, and Equity: Best Practices for Addressing a Threefold Challenge
Learn about proven strategies for instruction and intervention that support students with dyslexia.
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.
Sponsor
Personalized Learning Webinar
No Time to Waste: Individualized Instruction Will Drive Change
Targeted support and intervention can boost student achievement. Join us to explore tutoring’s role in accelerating the turnaround. 
Content provided by Varsity Tutors for Schools
Student Well-Being K-12 Essentials Forum Social-Emotional Learning: Making It Meaningful
Join us for this event with educators and experts on the damage the pandemic did to academic and social and emotional well-being.

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 What the Federal 'Don't Say Gay' Bill Actually Says
The bill would restrict federal funds for lessons on LGBTQ identities. The outcome of this week's election could revive its prospects.
4 min read
Demonstrators gather on the steps of the Florida Historic Capitol Museum in front of the Florida State Capitol on March 7, 2022, in Tallahassee, Fla. Florida House Republicans advanced a bill, dubbed by opponents as the "Don't Say Gay" bill, to forbid discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools, rejecting criticism from Democrats who said the proposal demonizes LGBTQ people.
Demonstrators gather on the steps of the Florida Historic Capitol Museum in Tallahassee on March 7, 2022. Florida's "Don't Say Gay" law was a model for a federal bill introduced last month.
Wilfredo Lee/AP
Federal Fed's Education Research Board Is Back. Here's Why That Matters
Defunct for years, the National Board for Education Sciences has new members and new priorities.
2 min read
Image of a conference table.
vasabii/iStock/Getty
Federal Opinion NAEP Needs to Be Kept at Arm’s Length From Politics
It’s in all our interests to ensure NAEP releases are buffered from political considerations and walled off from political appointees.
4 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Federal Feds Emphasize Legal Protections for Pregnant or Recently Pregnant Students, Employees
The U.S. Department of Education has released a new resource summary related to pregnancy discrimination in schools.
2 min read
Young girl checking her pregnancy test, sitting on beige couch at home.
iStock/Getty Images Plus