Missouri schools apply for NCLB waiver


Walter Wang

All Missouri schools could be in for a change. The standards of No Child Left Behind will soon be left behind, with new Missouri standards put in their place.
Missouri applied for a federal waiver from the NCLBt less than a week ago. The state board of education gave its green light on Feb. 21. The results will be known in mid-April following meetings with federal representatives later this month, Michelle Clark, communications coordinator for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, said.
The waiver aims at providing solace from the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act, according to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in a press release.
The waiver “will actually convert our federal accountability system to where it will be aligned with our state accountability system, and it will also offer a spirit of support rather than being punitive,” Clark said. “It is very much in line with our Missouri school improvement program in terms of aligning accountability standards for college and career readiness for students by the time they graduate from high school.”
The state still wants to keep the annual MAP test scores up, but instead of an Adequate Yearly progress, Missouri would be able to design their own accountability system and achievement goals, Clark said, including getting Missouri in the top 10 states by 2020.
“In other words,” Clark said, “instead of the impossible goal of 100 percent of students being proficient by the year 2014, we are actually looking at making an ambitious but achievable progress toward being in the top 10.”
For RBHS, the new system means that teachers do not have to fully “highly certified;” that is, be licensed and hold a college degree in the subject they wish to teach, as long as they teach well. In addition, there will be no punitive measures for not making enough progress based on standardized testing scores, especially in the subjects of math and reading, as the NCLB waiver set the goal for 100 percent proficiency for all students by 2014, an impossible task according to Clark.
A full side-by-side comparison of the NCLB and the Missouri plan can be found here.
By Walter Wang