The news that Oklahoma lost its waiver from the No Child Left Behind Act stole the spotlight last week, but there was actually another—much smaller, but still key—development: Kansas became the very first state to shed the “high risk” status label.
Like the other states that remain on high-risk status—Oregon and Arizona—Kansas had been red-flagged because of issues with its teacher-evaluation system. In the Sunflower State’s case, the Obama administration was worried that Kansas hadn’t piloted the system, and therefore hadn’t demonstrated that growth is a significant factor in evaluations, or that there’s enough differentiation among teachers.
In its extension application, Kansas decided to go with a model evaluation plan that its districts could opt to adopt—or not. Whether or not they went with the state plan, all districts must adopt a system that incorporates multiple measures. Student growth needs to be a “significant” part of the picture, but the districts themselves get to define what exactly “significant” means.
Apparently that idea was enoulgh for the state to shed its high-risk label—but the Aug. 28 letter from the U.S. Department of Education still notes that the department is still working with Kansas on its teacher- and principal-evaluation system.
Have trouble keeping track of which state is extended, which is on high-risk status, and which states have lost their waivers? We’re working on a map, check it out below. Did we miss anything? Let us know, and bookmark this link—we will be constantly updating.