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Which States Are Going for Early Bird NCLB-Waiver Renewal?

By Alyson Klein — January 22, 2015 2 min read
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The U.S. Department of Education has offered seven states an early deadline and a very special, expedited review process for renewing their No Child Left Behind waivers, but not everyone is taking it up on the offer.

The early bird renewal is supposed to be a reward for those states, which have stayed on track with their plans on teacher evaluation through student outcomes, even as the department has offered lots of leeway to other states struggling with teacher performance review systems.

But three of those states—Florida, New York, and Tennessee—are saying thanks but no thanks. They’ll wait around for the second waiver renewal. It’s worth noting that two of those states, Tennessee and New York, recently saw big-time turnover in the chief’s office, with the departures of Kevin Huffman, from the Volunteer State, and John King, from the Empire State. And both those states have moved to make changes to teacher evaluation, a key part of the waivers.

The other four states—Kentucky, North Carolina, New Mexico, and Virginia—say they are going to take the department up on its expedited offer.

The seven states that were invited to apply for early renewal were also the first to get a peak at their “equity profiles”, which are aimed at letting states know whether they are picking the “right” schools for intensive interventions. The department is letting states review these profiles before making them all public later this year. And it’s already made some changes when it comes to the portion of the profiles that shows what percentage of Title I schools were singled out for improvement, at the behest of Virginia and several other states.

The bigger problem with these equity profiles though, is that they give no real picture of whether students are actually making any real progress under the waivers,. More here.

Meanwhile, is the U.S. Department of Education doing a good job of monitoring states’ No Child Left Behind waiver implementation? Generally, yes, concludes a report by the department’s Office of the Inspector General. But it could be better.

The Inspector General took a close look at waiver monitoring in nine states, including Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Washington.

The IG complimented the department for coming up with a monitoring system, sticking to it, and following up on any trouble spots. But it noted the department didn’t have procedures in place for making sure that the data states provided to them was accurate. And the department didn’t ask the states to make any sort of official assurance that their information was correct.

The IG, however, found that all nine states it scrutinized gave the feds accurate info. But it can’t vouch for the other 30-plus waiver states.

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