Federal

NCLB Waiver Lets Virginia Offer Tutoring Before Choice

By Lynn Olson — September 07, 2005 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Four Virginia districts can provide students in low-performing schools with free tutoring before offering them the choice of switching to a higher-performing public school, under the first waiver granted by the federal government under the No Child Left Behind Act.

The “flexibility agreement” was outlined in an Aug. 25 letter from U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings to Thomas J. Jackson Jr., the president of the Virginia state board of education.

While the secretary has granted a number of states increased regulatory flexibility under the law, it is the first time that either Ms. Spellings or her predecessor, Rod Paige, has invoked Section 9401 of the law, which permits the secretary to grant waivers of elements of the statute itself.

The flexibility—long sought by a number of states—in essence reverses the order of the consequences spelled out in the federal law, a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Congress passed the law in late 2001.

The law requires all schools to meet annual targets for student performance to be deemed to have made adequate yearly progress.

Schools receiving federal Title I money for disadvantaged students that miss those targets for two years in a row are identified as needing improvement and must offer eligible students the chance to transfer to a higher-performing public school. Title I schools that remain in school improvement status a second year also must offer eligible students free tutoring, known under the law as “supplemental educational services.”

Under the pilot program approved for Virginia, four school districts—in Alexandria, Newport News, Henry County, and Stafford County—will be allowed to offer eligible students only tutoring during the first year that a Title I school is identified for improvement.

More Waivers Expected

Title I schools that are identified for a second year would have to offer both transfers and supplemental services. As a condition of the waiver, Virginia must provide the federal government with information on the academic achievement of students receiving tutoring; ensure that parents have access to a variety of providers; and increase the combined number of students taking advantage of the transfer and tutoring options.

While Virginia is the only state to receive such a waiver so far, the U.S. Department of Education plans to begin several pilot programs in a select number of districts across the country. The pilots will test the impact on student achievement of switching the order of transfers and tutoring, and examine how students use those options, according to department officials.

Meanwhile, Secretary Spellings has granted most states additional regulatory flexibility in meeting the law’s accountability provisions.

By late last week, the federal government had sent final decision letters to 37 states approving at least some of the requested changes to their accountability plans. Three states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico did not request any changes from last year in how they calculate adequate progress under the law.

Ten more states had yet to receive final decision letters from department officials, although they have received oral approval for some of their requests.

Events

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
Budget & Finance Webinar
The ABCs of ESSER: How to Make the Most of Relief Funds Before They Expire
Join a diverse group of K-12 experts to learn how to leverage federal funds before they expire and improve student learning environments.
Content provided by Johnson Controls
Science K-12 Essentials Forum How To Teach STEM Problem Solving Skills to All K-12 Students
Join experts for a look at how experts are integrating the teaching of problem solving and entrepreneurial thinking into STEM instruction.
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
School & District Management Webinar
Modernizing Principal Support: The Road to More Connected and Effective Leaders
When principals are better equipped to lead, support, and maintain high levels of teaching and learning, outcomes for students are improved.
Content provided by BetterLesson

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 Lawmakers, Education Secretary Clash Over Charter School Rules
Miguel Cardona says the administration wants to ensure charters show wide community interest before securing federal funding.
5 min read
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona speaks during the 2022 National and State Teachers of the Year event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, April 27, 2022.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, is seen during a White House event on April 27. The following day, he defended the Biden administration's budget proposal on Capitol Hill.
Susan Walsh/AP
Federal Opinion What If We Treated Public Education Like the Crisis It Is?
A former governor warns that without an overhaul, education's failures will cost the nation dearly.
Bev Perdue
5 min read
Conceptual Illustration of the sun rising behind a broken down school building
iStock/Getty
Federal What the Research Says Education Research Has Changed Under COVID. Here's How the Feds Can Catch Up
Adam Gamoran, chairman of a National Academies panel on the future of education research, talks about the shift that's needed.
5 min read
Graphic shows iconic data images all connected.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Federal 7 Takeaways for Educators From Biden's State of the Union
What did President Joe Biden say about education in his first State of the Union address to Congress? Here's a point-by-point summary.
3 min read
President Joe Biden delivers his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol, Tuesday, March 1, 2022, in Washington as Vice President Kamala Harris applauds and House speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., looks on.
President Joe Biden delivers his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress, with Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in attendance.
Sarahbeth Maney/The New York Times via AP