Federal government extends Texas' NCLB waiver for the 2014-15 school year
Date Posted: 9/23/2014 | Author: Jennifer Mitchell, CAE
The state of Texas has received a one-year extension on its waiver of certain school accountability laws contained in the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), more commonly known as the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. The waiver prevents Texas schools from being penalized for failing to meet the federal government’s outdated “Adequate Yearly Progress” standards and gives them greater flexibility in how they can spend certain federal funds. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has granted waivers to several states in exchange for their enacting certain reforms favored by the federal government, such as tying teacher evaluations to student performance or adopting national curriculum standards. Texas received an initial NCLB waiver in September 2013, which was conditioned on the state’s developing a plan to change its method of evaluating teachers and principals. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) submitted a preliminary evaluation plan to the federal government for review earlier this year, and that review is still pending. In the meantime, TEA is piloting its new evaluation model in approximately 68 school districts around the state. ATPE has urged Congress to address problems with the outdated accountability measures in NCLB and also solicited their support for the state’s waiver request. In July, 22 members of the U.S. House of Representatives wrote to Secretary Duncan at ATPE’s request and urged him to extend the state’s NCLB waiver. Texas Commissioner of Education Michael Williams was formally notified of the extension in a Sept. 19 letter from the U.S. Department of Education. Read the waiver extension letter here.
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