No Child Left Behind Waivers
The U.S. Department of Education (USDE) recently announced that it is formally inviting states to apply for waivers to move beyond the flawed accountability measures of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), also known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
The unrealistic and punitive aspects of NCLB have made it counterproductive. Every year that NCLB moves forward with its unattainable goals more schools are deemed to be failing, so much so that this year only 8 high schools in Illinois were deemed to have made “adequate progress.” States are creating new accountability systems that support schools and districts and provide students with the interventions they need to improve. States are also moving from measuring the credentials of teachers and leaders to measuring their effectiveness in improving student learning. These waivers will ensure this important work can advance. The Illinois State Board of Education will work with Gov. Pat Quinn to submit Illinois’ proposal early next year.
The Illinois State Board of Education is committed to making Illinois’ Pre-K to 12 system the strongest in the nation. In Illinois, we have already embarked on the following initiatives to substantially strengthen our education system:
- The implementation of the Common Core State Standards, which are new, more rigorous learning standards to challenge students and educators alike to increase our global competitiveness;
- The development of new assessments based on these higher learning standards;
- The promotion and utilization of technology to drive student achievement;
- The development of a kindergarten survey to ensure our youngest learners are on track in the earliest grades;
- The coordination of a statewide inter-agency partnership that will provide better coordinated early childhood services and performance ratings;
- New, higher standards for teacher and principal preparation, aimed at improving classroom instruction and educational leadership;
- The development of a new principal and teacher performance evaluation system that takes into account student academic growth; and,
- A targeted, intensive effort to turnaround our state’s lowest achieving schools, which involves the provision of additional resources and oversight, while expecting significant gains for students and better possibilities for their future.