Sunday, April 20, 2014

Another reminder . . .

The end of this month brings with it two decisions with the potential to have serious short and long term impacts on public schools in our state.  The first is the legislature's response to the State Supreme Court's directive to supply them with a funding plan to meet the requirements in the McCleary decision. The second is the impending decision by the federal education department on the status of the NCLB waiver.

Yes, it seems like these have been reoccurring themes in my posts over time so why again so soon? Because of this front page article in yesterday's Seattle Times with the following title.

It would not be good to be the first state to lose the waiver, but if those in positions of authority in our state believe this and continue to say it we should soon find out.

Now, Washington may be the first state to have its waiver revoked because it didn’t go as far as the Obama administration wanted when it came to holding teachers accountable for their students’ performance.

“We fully expect to lose it,” said Kristen Jaudon, spokeswoman for the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. 
Why is it taking Secretary Duncan so long to make the decision?  Could it be because as he has publicly stated when compared to other states we are doing a good job without needing to use state test scores in teacher evaluation?  Could it be because the accountability requirements of NCLB will never be achieved and it makes no sense to hold a system accountable to them?  Could it be because the federal government should not be in a position to mandate how we evaluate teachers and principals?

It should be all of these plus others, but it is more than likely because he and they are struggling to figure out how to put the state back on the Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) trail to being declared failing schools and school systems.  Once they decide how to hold us accountable to a standard that cannot be achieved we will learn how close we are to joining every other district in the state as a failing school system.

Before the waivers, schools were measured on something called Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) toward the goal of every child passing math and reading tests by this school year — 100 percent proficiency.

No Washington school district with enough students to report test scores reached that mark last year, so they would be considered failing if Washington simply reverts back to the old accountability system.

Doesn't make much sense to me, but I think like someone in Washington State, not Washington D.C.

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