In fall 2011, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the administration’s decision to allow states to apply for waivers to the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) requirements. To receive consideration for these waivers states had to establish “college and career- ready” expectations, develop and implement differentiated accountability systems, and develop teacher and principal evaluations systems. The U.S. Department of Education granted waivers to eleven states during the first-round application process. Another 27 states currently have an application under consideration in the second round.

A recent report by the Center on Education Policy (CEP) takes a look at the major accountability themes proposed by the 27 states in the second round, focusing on common themes among these states.

CEP found that the waiver applications in general are more complex than the current provisions of NCLB. The following are among the major accountability themes detected in the applications:

  • Adoption of the Common Core State Standards: All but one state (Virginia) has adopted the Common Core standards in math and English language arts.
  • Greater complexity in annual achievement targets: All of the states will continue to have Annual Measureable Objectives (AMOs), but they will become more complex and used to make accountability decisions.
  • Multiyear achievement goals: All but one state (Louisiana) will replace the goal of 100 percent proficiency by 2013-14 with a multiyear goal.
  • New measures of school and district performance: A majority of the states will replace the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) concept with performance indexes to determine if schools are making satisfactory progress.
  • Elimination of school choice and tutoring requirements: States will no longer require schools in need of improvement to provide supplemental educational services.

Ohio was one of the 27 states that applied for a waiver during the second-round application process. As the CEP report suggests, Ohio’s application follows many of the major themes mentioned above. Ohio adopted the Common Core in 2010 and if its application is approved it would represent a major shift in the way schools and districts are graded, as well as dismantle the current tutoring program. Ohio’s application, like the other 26 states, represents a major shift in the current policies prescribed in NCLB.

Major Accountability Themes of Second-Round State Applications for NCLB Waivers
Center on Education Policy
May 2012

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