Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today (May 29) announced that Connecticut’s application for a waiver from certain mandates imposed by the 2001 No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act has been approved.
The waiver, which grants states greater flexibility for implementing school reforms, comes just weeks after Gov. Malloy and legislative leaders reached an agreement to begin fixing what’s broken in Connecticut’s public schools.
The jointly-issued press release states that the NCLB Waiver, among other things, will ensure that Connecticut:
- has greater flexibility with Federal Title 1 dollars, meaning that the state can now use that money to fund programs and reform models that are right for Connecticut and gets it to the students who need it;
- avoids a situation where nearly half of the state’s public schools would have been deemed “failing” – setting in motion massive restructuring and possibly even school closures; and creates a system that more accurately measures student achievement across all levels.
NCLB requires a series of sanctions for schools that do not achieve 100 percent student proficiency on standardized assessments by 2014.
- establishes a new, more comprehensive system of measuring student academic achievement and progress across all performance bands;
- adds writing and science assessments to the accountability system;
- and holds high schools accountable for graduation rates in addition to test scores.
And Connecticut’s education reform plans call for –
- implementation of the Common Core State Standards and new assessments aligned to those standards in 2014-15;
- authorization of intensive interventions and supports necessary to turn around Connecticut’s lowest performing schools and districts;
- a new, enhanced system of teacher and principal evaluation and support;
- and reduction of red tape and undue administrative burdens placed on districts.
All of these initiatives, set forth as guiding principles for education reform by Gov. Malloy in December 2011, were affirmed or enhanced with passage of Senate Bill 458, An Act Concerning Educational Reform, which was signed into law by Governor Malloy on May 14, 2012.
“I want to commend Connecticut for demonstrating real courage that made it one of the leading states in this round of plans,” Secretary Duncan said.
“Connecticut’s plan to adopt college and career-ready standards, elevate and support teachers, and focus resources in order to close the achievement gap will include hundreds more schools and thousands more children who were invisible under NCLB,” Duncan said.
Connecticut Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor said, “From Common Core implementation, to low-performing school turnaround, to educator evaluation, we were able to convey Connecticut’s authentic agenda in our presentation to the federal Education Department.”
“After too many years of failing to secure significant federal approvals for our education work here in Connecticut, we are finally entering an era of strong state/federal partnership regarding the strengthening of our schools,” Pryor said.
Posted May 29, 2012
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