Roadmap to Winning an NCLB Waiver – Politics K-12 – Education Week


Politics of NCLB…

Although Education Secretary Arne Duncan holds the ultimate power in choosing which states get a No Child Left Behind waiver and which don’t, a group of outside judges will wield a tremendous amount of influence in deciding states’ fates.

And now, the very important peer review guidebook is out from the department, which issues instructions to the judges as they evaluate each state’s waiver plan. This document outlines (almost) exactly what states have to do to win the judges over and get coveted flexibility under NCLB.

The judges have not been selected yet, and it’s unclear how many will be needed and if their names will be made public before the judging starts. (If you’ll remember, in Race to the Top, their identities were kept secret until after the winners were announced by the department, they said, to prevent undue influence.)

In the guidance, there are a lot of clear-cut, yes or no questions that will be easy for the judges to answer: Is the state part of the Common Core or has its university system certified that its standards are college- and career-ready? Does a state’s school turnaround strategy include a provision for additional student learning time? Did a state attach its guidelines for its teacher and principal evaluation systems?

But then come the more complicated, nuanced, and even controversial decisions and judgments peer reviewers will have to make.

Overall, peer reviewers for the waiver package will be deciding whether a plan is “high-quality,” and “comprehensive and coherent.” They will also be looking for whether the plan will increase the quality of instruction and improve student achievement.

The judges also will examine whether the state “meaningfully” engaged and solicited input from teachers and their representatives. More importantly, the judges will be told to ask: Will implementation be successful because of the input and “commitment” of teachers and their representatives? Commitment seems like a pretty strong word, and seems akin to the buy-in the department stressed as part of Race to the Top.

Then, the peer reviewers will drill down and focus on the three main commitments states have to make to get more freedom under NCLB.

via Roadmap to Winning an NCLB Waiver – Politics K-12 – Education Week.

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About Irfan

I am an independent researcher and blogger interested in everything under the sun, but more so in the philosophy and history of education and education reform generally, and specifically in the so-called post colonial contexts

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