What NCLB Flexibility Means for You

Earlier today President Obama provided details on how states can get relief from provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act- or No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

The new flexibility supports local and state education reform across the country in exchange for serious state-led efforts to close achievement gaps, promote rigorous accountability, and ensure that all students are on track to graduate college- and career-ready.

Here’s how flexibility may affect you:

For Teachers:

ESEA flexibility will move accountability systems toward decisions that are based on student growth and progress. They will consider more than a single test score measured against an arbitrary proficiency level.  States will be able to look comprehensively at how schools are serving their students and communities, in areas like school climate, access to rigorous coursework, and providing a well-rounded education.

Flexibility also will support States and districts in fixing the broken teacher evaluation systems, by allowing for the use of multiple measures to evaluate teachers, including peer reviews, principal observation, portfolios, and student work.

For Parents:

ESEA Flexibility will let States create honest accountability and support systems that require real change in the worst performing schools, allow for locally tailored solutions based on individual school needs, and recognize schools for success. When schools fall short, parents will know that school leaders will adopt targeted and focused strategies for the students most at risk.

The accountability system also will end the over-emphasis on testing. Parents will like this change for the same reasons that teachers will – it will promote a well-rounded curriculum while giving a fair and responsible assessment of their school’s success in preparing students for college and careers.

For Students:

Under ESEA flexibility, States will begin to move beyond the bubble tests and dumbed-down standards that are based on arbitrary standards of proficiency. By measuring student growth and critical thinking, new assessments will inspire better teaching and greater student engagement across a well-rounded curriculum. By setting standards based on college- and career-readiness, States will challenge students to make progress toward a goal that will prepare them for success in the 21st century knowledge economy.

Click here to download our FAQ about ESEA flexibility (MS Word), and for more detailed information visit ed.gov/esea/flexibility.

23 Comments

  1. Well this is the end of any accountability in our schools. No longer are schools required to have a highly qualified teacher in the classroom.

  2. Obviously, there are differences between low income schools and schools where students have more resources. It seems to me that so much depends on the parents involvement, their previous experiences, their personal knowledge, life experience, parents with the time, inclination, availability and/or resources for extra assistance. It is so sad for me to think that some students are unable to learn without the Federal governments influence on the issue.

    Dean

  3. i think this is really great news for the education system especially for teachers. it will be fixing a lot of problems including these. The use of standardized tests limits a teacher’s freedom to teach to unique students at different levels in the most effective ways. Leslie Salmon-Cox, from the Learning Research and Development Center at the University of Pittsburg, explains in an article that when teachers in her study were asked about the most significant differences in their students, the large majority commented on home life and family and the fact that students with parents who care are doing better than students with parents who do not care (Salmon-Cox). Not all students in a classroom or particular grade are going to be at the same level, but teaching for a standardized test does not allow this. These types of assessment only look at rank according to if a student is preforming at a certain mark, not if they have shown improvement. So, teachers are pressured to stray away from goals of helping students from every background, and instead teach only what material is going to appear on a standardized test, even if a student is not ready for it. Information collected for an article in the Official Journal of the America Educational Research Association said, “Current achievement tests lack “instructional validity” and “curricular validity” because the tests do not adequately reflect the content of most classroom curricula nor the methods by which students learn” (Paris). The most effective teaching methods are interactive and cover a variety of material in different ways to keep students interested. However, teaching to a standardized test does not allow for the teacher to exercise the freedom to teach the best ways his or her students learn. Instead they are asked to teach in a more linear one sided style in order to cover the basics and practice for tests in order to insure high assessment results. A teacher faces new challenges with each group of students he or she works with, and it is detrimental to the learning environment for a teacher to have to sacrifice the freedom to be able to tailor the curriculum to fit his or her unique students in order to reach a set of standards.

  4. In addition to affecting critical thinking skills, standardized tests discourage creative thinking, an essential factor for America’s future economic state. In an essay by Bronwyn T. Williams, an associate professor of English and director of composition at the University of Louisville, he explains that having writing part of standardized tests takes away major components, such as creative context, necessary for literacy development. Williams discusses the growing interest in having machines grade the literacy standardized tests. He states that the computers grade by “a series of algorithms that look for quantifiable characteristics such as transitional phrases and complex syntax” (Williams 607), and goes on to say that the context of those essays don’t matter. The computers place importance on the “quantifiable characteristics” and not the quality in writing, such as creating meaningful messages and stories. With machines looking at writing, students can easily form essays about nonsense in a grammatically correct way. The context, essentially the soul of any literary work, is crucial to develop for creative thinking and for writing in general. The fact that standardized tests comprise mainly of “bubble in” questions and answers also negatively affects critical thinking abilities. Bubble in exams do not allow room for different interpretations of the question. Instead of drawing a diagram of the human body from memory, students answer questions about the human anatomy by filling in a tiny circle. Students can’t utilize their creative skills or imagination to compose responses to various types of questions. These qualities of standardized tests force children and adolescents to drift away from creative cognition, which is important for America to remain competitive in the global economy. Yong Zhao, a University Distinguished Professor of Technology in Education and Educational Psychology, explains in his essay, “Are We Fixing the Wrong Things?”, that the United States has become an economic superpower through innovators of the technological age, but the power can be lost if the education system does not foster creativity. He states, “The current or proposed reform initiatives–centralized curriculum, standardized testing, accountability, required course of study–could kill creativity, the United States’ real competitive edge” (Zhao 621). America’s push for standards and assessment in education will cause the loss of the country’s key to economic power.

  5. The biggest problem with the education system in the United States is that it has become a “preparation” for college, and NOT “preparation” for the real world. In the real world, the majority of students don’t go to college–they go to work. They work in factories, do skilled labor, or work in the service industry. Decades ago, every school district had a vocational program of some kind at middle school level–basic mechanics, building trades, electricity, or home economics. Back then, ‘special education kids’ were separated from their peers and put into self-contained classrooms. The focus was to teach them the basics, so they would be able to function in society. Then, with the advent of the American Disabilities Act, they were mainstreamed into the same classes as their peers, with differing results. Sometimes, no matter how much a teacher tries or how hard the student tries, it just isn’t possible to reach the education goals–it depends on the student’s innate ability. When a student has a low IQ, autism, Down’s Syndrome, or so many medical problems that the student misses weeks of school, should we be expecting that those students will be taking trigonometry? Of course not. Yet, the other children who have no “apparent” problems–no behavior disorders, no ADHD–are required to take classes,which, in reality, they will never use, but must get the “credit” for graduation. This goes against the theory that every individual is different. I believe that only certain people are meant to be the Isaac Newtons or the Albert Einsteins of the world. The rest of us, unfortunately, need to learn to run cash registers, need to weld pipes together, or box up cans as they come off of the production lines, so we can make a living. The education system of the United States needs to address THOSE skills, and to stop trying to force everyone into the “college mold.” It’s time we focused on a realistic approach to education, and started teaching children to put things together and take them apart again (mechanics). We need to teach them how to read a wiring diagram, and build a circuit board (electronics). We need to teach them how to put together bird houses (building trades). We need to teach them how to sew and how to paint. In short, the school system needs to teach children to make things, build things, and create things. Learning on a computer is okay, but, without hands-on application (concrete operational), it isn’t possible to experience the process, and, therefore, impossible to improve on it. Americans have misplaced their “Yankee Ingenuity” and it’s about time we recognized how important it is to our economy. Our future generations can get it back for us, if the teachers start preparing them for the real world. Instead of trigonometry, why not calculate volts, amps, and ohms ? Instead of English IV, why not the basic principles of the internal combustion engine ? Instead of Honors programs, why not apprenticeships? There has been an extraordinary amount of taxpayers’ money spent on test booklets for the last decade. Why not spend it on vocational education instead, and start with the elementary grades? If we want to turn our economy around, we need to make our own stuff. We can create, produce, and improve a product better than any other country in the world. We need to get our Yankee Ingenuity back, and Kindergarten is the place to start. In other words: less testing, more teaching !!!

  6. PART 1
    I am currently living in South Carolina 1 of the worst school system environment I have ever witnessed in my life I’m sure more exist but from where I stand it is appalling. I am a mother of a child with High functioning Autism and another child with ADHD. Not only are the teachers spoiled but they are young and have no patience and no time for stepping up for challenges especially if they feel they are under paid. Long ago a teacher may not have even cared about getting paid as long as they reached a student who seem unreachable they felt with dedication and hard work they were doing their job. Now a days I have actually been told verbally by a teacher regarding my ADHD child who have a hard time focusing at times so may not have written down an assignment due or may have needed more time to finish a test that there is not enough funding to pay them to come in extra early or stay late after to help a child who is on the IEP!!!! What kind of BS is going on with teachers now days??? And let’s not forget parents like myself who may spend over $200 plus dollars on school supplies to help with the teachers wish list and told not to put a name on anything as it will be community property amongst all students but yet still my child who has ADD who it is very hard to keep up with a simple pencil and the teachers in which I have taken time off work to sit and try to come up faith the appropriate accommodations through his IEP legally which they refuse and say they have too many other students to baby one with ADD which is a clear violation of the NCLB Act they have the nerve to send emails saying that my child had no pencil in class???? Shouldn’t the expensive community property I donated to the school out of my pocket help my child if he needs a pencil oh are we saving supplies for next year as well??? When I was in school my parents worked hard took us shopping we all had our own supplies. Where and who is responsible for the funding and those HEFTY government funding checks for ALL these school programs going, because the history book my daughter brought home the other day is falling apart and the teachers are screaming they are under paid and over worked. Are these teachers asking the questions that they should where the funding going is!!!!! Who is in charge of these checks and what are they being used for if not on school supplies such as hand sanitizer and tissues?, new books, computers and to pay teachers for their so called extra time they would need to get paid for to stay after school to help a student or even skip a few minutes in a lunch break to help out a student they should be checking to see where their money is going while they screaming that parents aren’t supportive or stepping up as they should??? Well I am here to tell you I step up all the way and the teachers, the principal, and IEP team steps all over me by not following the laws. NOW I’m not saying all teachers are like this but from my experiences with teachers in the Carolinas. They ALL seem to be spoil and not willing to go that extra mile for a child that needs them without the money didn’t know teaching was priced I thought it was something that was in you to do and no matter the price it’s a feeling you can’t hold back welcoming the challenges and all??? Im missing the old school teachers they know about the challenges please find more of them, oh that’s right they’ve all RETIRED and now are children has a price tag on their head. “Sincerely hating the State of Education laziness in SOUTH CAROLINA”
    (Sorry excuse me didn’t spellcheck/grammar before Part 1 n Part 2 rushed)

  7. PART 2 (continuing)

    Lets talk about the fact that as a parent that has also a child with Autism along with a child with ADHD works a fulltime job (NO CHOICE KIDS GO TO EAT AND SITTING AT HOME FOR DISABILITY IS NOT WORTH IT) but still tries to stay involve to help my children and so that the teachers understand that i know the disability and im not trying to make their job difficult but we have to take the children into consideration and not take things so personally but have enough intelligence when a parent is involved to help them to help their kids. There’s NO WAY i could possibly express the anger i feel towards South Carolina school system and how they address life altering issues on a message bored ther’s not enough time in the world. My son who was diagnosed with Autism at age 3 and i was told he would never talk just scream constantly which he did, dress himself which he does now or be able to funtion in society without my help which he is trying everyday. Being the strong willed person that i am i never claimed that diagnosis not only does my son talk at the age of 17 but he dresses himself, cooks, cleans very neat and is looking forward to going to college next year as a High Funtioning Autistic Indiviual such as like Templin Grandlin College Professor who also lives with Autism (amazing), He has some difficulties but not at all as he did at the age of 3 i am truly blessed. But angry that teachers, IEP, IDEA nor the NCLB act has protected his rights as a Student with disabilities because even though my son has over came the majority of the challenges such as talking he still could have benefited from more help that that these programs funding are suppose to supply that may come along with having Autiism (which by the way Eienstein was Autistic because almost all people with Autism are really genuis especially in certain fields), We were recently told or confused in now his SENIOR YEAR OF HIGH SCHOOL that supposedly even though he has had some mainstream regular classes since elementary school also into high school that his 4 years that he has faithfully attended high school classes along with the Occupational program that they ususally enjoy throwing the disable students into violating their rights not to be given a fear chance by being a student with a cognitive disability but they are so lazy they just give them a work certificate to a person with HIGH FUNTIONING AUTISM THAT CAN BE TAUGHT that is if the NCLB ACT was really for that purpose. HELLO! WE all know just how far a work certificate is going to get him in his plans to further his Education and make above minium wage with college, well if you didnt know it will get him making minimum wage and wasting time trying to pursue a G.E.D. when he is already in high school to get a Diploma makes no dern sense???? How do you tell a child now soon to be adult who is a genius at Math at one point that because you were given a HSAP test with no accomadations in the 10th grade you will have to now waste a year after graduation to try to get a G.E.D instead of straight into the major in college that he chose at the Occupational center the school through him into?? Why even give him a taste of something you never intended on giving to him in the first place “SUCCESS”, because the IEP and Special Education Panel dropped the ball by not being held accountable or responsible for his growth, as a matter of fact 3 teachers has quit or resigned in his High School Career which by the way is devasting to a Autistic person that change is very hard picture coming back from Christmas vaction and a teacher you connected with is gone no heads up no note no nothing, That’s not caring that’s selfish it almost tore my household apart just that one teachers action made my son feel like “She (the teacher) never cared so what’s the point in this school thing Mom???” I had a meeting with the panel and they said they had a meeting back in the 8th grade “LOL” which explained their transition plans before high school and i didnt attend according to their records LOL my response to that is i was working for a “UNFAIR” COMPANY (seems to be a TREND in South Carolina, just do what they want with no regards to the law) that didnt accommadate my rights as a parent with 2 kids with disabilities for alomost 6 years of broken promises and we will next month the accommadations never came from my job NEVER so at times unfortunately i was forced to chose other options many times such as ask someone to stand in for me at Honor Roll Assembles, PTA meeting etc. It is hard for a parent to be placed at work in those type positions to chose but the panel still should have made sure no matter what my opinions and voice was heard in their decision makings in regards to my child. THATS IF I EVER GOT AN INVITATION LETTER in the first place, With the NCLB parents should feel that if by some reason the career they are in isnt flexible their back up on the wall or help meaning the teachers, special education administrators, IEP, IDEA etc that we can all work as team even if the parent needs to be brought up to speed at another date that should be MANDATORY not open/shut file there should be confidence that these programs will still work without the parent having to babysit its every move in FAVOR of the child. Because even though i have a Autistic genuis if you sent hime home with a letter of invite to a meeting through a Autistic child eyes who may think he’s in trouble that’s why a meeting is happening and you made important decisions that im only now understanding 4 years later because once a child is looked at disable decisions are made unfavorably for the child because of Society Habit of what disable is to just place them in a work program to be trained to be a stockperson or straight into special ed without the appropriate alternate accommodated testings? I find this practice to be an insult to the students with disabilities especially the ones with cognitive disabilities because Helloooo NEWSFLASH!!! just because you are blind does not mean you cant learn or recieve a Degree in college. So for a High funtioning Autistic individual which part if his Autism is remembering and which means if you teach him what you want him to learn the routiness and reptativeness of his Autism mixed with his courage and strength to learn he too can Pass the HSAP ALT if given that option based on the NCLB! I think im appauled mostly that this nasty habit that South Carolina as far as i have seen and by the accountability results they are not putting any effort into IDEA, IEP nor NCLB act so i am in agreement that when funding is to be given to the state, schools or programs based on how many assessment testsing they do do for students with disabilities, and the scores are low they are not documenting anything (WHO DOES THAT AND STILL GETS FUNDING?) because they are not testing high or at all for the disabled students so “I DO FEEL THAT FUNDING SHOULD NOT BE GIVEN IF THEY ARE NOT USING IT FOR WHAT IT SHOULD BE USED FOR” I am challenging ssomeone/anyone to take a look at the test scores and what the programs listed have really been doing for kids wher’s the $$$ going and how many kids are graduating with certificates instaed of high school diplomas that qualify under the act for the a regular diploma like the other students which is a violation of rights by law and on top that making it harder for kids like my child who has high funtiong Autism to pursue college and careers rather than being taught life skills for 4 years of high school. My child is now frustrated and so am I frustrated for him because without a high school diploma he may not get to achieve to his full potential, then once out of High school which is setting him up for failure he has to feel like he’s stepping back to work for a G.E.D. why?? I thought the NCLB ACT was suppose to do the opposite, Disappointed in the teachers who have never picked up the bar to set it high and disappointed in the funding being wasted on a program where the states still get to make up their own rules based on credits, certificates, attendance awards and stupid awards they make up they are allowed to add which conflicts with the rights of the disabled which makes it harder for everyone who is capable of recieving a High School Diploma. This program is gonna fail not 1 but 2 of my kids if its not FIXED NOW. “Sinceerely so hating the SOUTH CAROLINA SCHOOL SYSTEM” Setting our kids up for major failures in life very sad!

  8. What happens to the students with disabilities ?We wouldn’t want the teachers worrying about a student entering the class and thinking this is not fair to their evaluation . I feel there should be a system where they should be aloud some lead way or flexibility here in this area .

  9. At what point do we differentiate the testing or evaluation of students who are diploma bound vs. students who are certificate bound? I agree both populations need organized systems of documenting ongoing progress, but let’s face it; this is where NCLB completely failed. I would propose that all AYP scores have been a ludicrous attempt to measure student progress, because states have been combining the scores of these two distinctly different populations. You simply cannot combine non-standardized (teacher created) tests with standardized tests and conclude that you have valid data. If you are a special educator or know anything about special education, you know what I am saying. If you are blind to this information, then make yourself aware and join me in seeing that students with special needs are treated fairly at their developmental level and not their grade level. Likewise, be fair to students taking standardized tests, by not skewing the resulting data.
    Students with special needs have been left “so far behind” that it is disgrace to the teaching profession. Students who follow a functional life skills curriculum and have numerous professionals and support staff meeting with parents to individualize their instruction, should not be held accountable to any other standards other than the ones that are uniquely set for them by people who are well aware of their abilities. This is a minority group that needs to be given careful attention in any proposed changes, so that we don’t go another 4-8 years placing grade-level curriculum demands on students, who by no fault of their own, have fallen 4+ grade levels below what is appropriate for their age. We should assure that teachers of students with severe/profound special needs are held accountable for documentation of yearly increases of developmental skills. These teachers and students have been robbed of valuable instructional time under NCLB and it is time to hear updates on how their needs are going to be met. This change should not be an afterthought and should be addressed this school year.

    • Some local districts failed teachers by not using title I funding to provide for them to become highly qualified.

  10. PUERTO RICO NEEDS MORE TEACHERS AND LESS STUDENTS BY CLASSROOM, WE HAVE BEEN TREATED LIKE THE MOST WRONG PROFESION TO BE HERE, THERE IS NO RESPECT FOR THE TEACHERS AND THE FIRST TO MAKE US FEEL LIKE THAT ARE THE SCHOOL PRINCIPALS. TEACHERS FEEL THERE IS NO MEANING IN THE STANDAR TEST SOMETIMES BECAUSE WE FIRST NEED TO FULFILL OUR PREOCUPATION FOR OUR HEALTH, SECURITY, AND STUFF FOR THE CLASSROOM, LIKE TAPE, BLACKBOARDS, ELECTRONIC BOARDS, COMPUTER FOR EACH STUDENTS IN ALL CLASSROOM, WE HAVE NO AIR CONDITIONAER AND SOMETIMES WE ARE WORKING IN 100 OR MORE DEGREES FARENHEITH.
    SCHOOLS PRINCIPALS AND OTHERS WRITE THINGS ON PAPERS THAT ARE ALL A FANTASY, HERE THE SCHOOLS HAVE BUDGET BUT THE MATERIALS ARE STOLEN OR HIDEN SOMEWHERE IN THE NEVERLAND ISLAND. I HAVE TO BUY THE PAINT FOR THE CLASSROOM THERE IS NO JANITOR, THE WINDOWS ARE DAMAGE, SHIT OF DOG OUTSIDE MY DOOR. THE ONLY BATHROOM IS NO WORKING, WE HAVE TO USE THE ONLY BATHROOM OF THE MAN. WE NEED TO SHARE THE CLASSROOM WITH ANOTHER TEACHERS SO WE NEVER HAVE TIME TO DO THE THINGS WE NEED TO DO IN THE SCHOOL AFTER CLASS. WE HAVE TO GET OUT CLOSE THE WINDOWS, (EVERY DAY) TURN OFF THA FANS, CLOSE THE DOORS, TAKE WITH YOU ALL YOU DON’T WANT SOMEONE TO STEAL FROM YOUR STUFF. WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A EVALUATION BUT WHERE WE ARE GOING TO GET ALL THOSE DOCUMENTS, IN WHAT COMPUTER, WITH WHAT PRINTER , IN WHAT TIME . I DO NOT EVEN HAVE A COMPUTER FOR ME AT THE CLASSROOM, SO I HAVE TO MAKE ALL IN MY HOUSE AND STAY IN LINE AND SEE IF THERE IS NO ONE BEFORE ME WAITING TO USE THE COMPUTER OF THE SCHOOL TO PRINT ONE PAPER TO GET ONLY 35 COPIES EACH TIME THAT IS THE LIMIT. I’M LUCKY THIS YEAR WITH THE PRINCIPAL IS LESS BAD AS THE ONE I HAVE BEFORE. STUDENTS OF SPECIAL EDUCATON STRUGLE EACH YEAR TO FIND A SCHOOL WHO ACCEPT THEM, AND THE THERAPIES ARE ANOTHER NIGHTMARE, A COMPLAINT EACH SEMESTER TO GET OCUPATIONAL THERAPY FOR MY DAUGHTER, FIVE YEARS TO GET A PSILOGICAL EVALUATION FOR MY OTHER DAUGHTER, FIRTS REPAIR WHAT IS WRONG IN EACH SCHOOL MAKE TEACHERS FEEL THAT YOU CARE ABOUT US AND THEN YOU CAN HAVE ALL YOU WANT . I WAS A FEDERAL EMPLOYEE , AND I LIVED THERE IN THE STATES AND HERE WE ARE THE BETTER TEACHERS YOU CAN FIND, WE ARE DESIRE TO BE ON THE TOP. MY SISTER GRISELL SANTIAGO WAS A STUDENT HERE AND NOW SHE HAS A PH.D DEGREE AND WORK IN FLORIDA, ALL THE KNOWLEDGE SHE HAD THEN AT FIRST WAS FROM PUBLIC SCHOOLS OF PUERTO RICO.
    7 minutes ago · LikeUnlike.

  11. There are some valid points made in the comments and some that are not as valid. I’ve taught in low income school and school where students have more resources one can imagine. Yes, there are difference, parental involvement, prior knowledge, life experiences, parents that have the time, ability, and/or resources for extra assistance. I don’t think that anyone is forgetting about the Title I schools or those students. It sad to think that our students can’t learn without the Government forcing the issue. The test never really gain any sense of accountability to anyone, because that became the focal point. I like the idea of following progress with many different measures and not one test. A bad day can yield a bad test result for a student. Regurgitation of information says nothing about the ability for that child to apply what has been taught and hopefully learned. It is more important to see progress over time, determine if a child can apply the information in real life situations, and for all of us to work together to create a community of learning. In none of the comments do you see anything about parental responsiblity or accountablilty in the learning of a child. As an educator, I can honestly say I don’t mind if student progress is part of my evaluation. I am more than happy to be accountable for what I am expected to do, so long as it is based on true progress and not one test result. I teacher children with special needs, which makes showing progress or passing test that much challenging. So instead of being angry at the Fed., States, or power that seem to be, why don’t we work as a community to improve the education of our young people, value the hard work of teachers and countless hours that go into what they have to do, and make EVERYONE that comes in contact with that child accountable for his or her education.

  12. America’s first black President has just cut a free tutoring lifeline to nearly $1million low income, mostly minority, students in the some of the toughest nmeighborhoods and worst schools in the country. And he did it so that he can win support in the coming election from the constituents he so desperately needs to be re-elected. This is the offical END of accountability in schools. No longer are schools required to have a Highly Qualified Teacher in the classroom, no longer are schools REQUIRED to provide interventions to low performing students, no longer are districts REQUIRED to notify their parents of how poorly their schools are doing. The Presdient says that ESEA flexibility will not give sachools a pass on accountability. He claims it will continue to require schools to raise the bar for performance for all students and will hold schools accountable for the academic growth and gain of all studnets. How, Mr. President? How?! There are no repucussions anymore!

    • How can cutting the SES tutoring help our students and parents? Parents are more involved in helping their children grow because they have a say in who they want to tutor their child. The child benefits from staying at school and getting a snack, it’s a win/win. Teachers also benefit because they can work late and help as a tutor to make a little extra money.
      Please don’t take away the things that are working!

  13. I have just received e-mail from our Union, and it says: “use test scores and other measures to evaluate teachers’ effectiveness”. What teachers and what tests? So far Math and English teachers are those that carry that load. Will we still be the only ones? Or will students take standardized tests for all disciplines? If only Math and English are going to be tested students still will be where they are with NCLB – no science, no History, no Art, no nothing except of Math and English. I hope this is not what is going to happen

  14. Regarding Teacher Evaluation Systems: ED needs to mandate the “use of multiple measures to evaluate teachers, including peer reviews, principal observation, portfolios, and student work,” not just ALLOW for it. Peer and principal observations, portfolios, student/parent surveys are costly and time consuming, but MUST happen in order to accurately measure teacher performance. Unless is it mandatory, districts will turn to the easiest (and sexiest) way to measure teacher performance, and hardest thing to explain to teachers and public: Value-Added scores. Value added scores are useful and valuable, but MUST be used in conjunction with other measures. ED needs to emphasize and require use of MULTIPLE measures, instead of making them secondary (nice to have) things. Additionally, everyone agrees that Title IIA money needs to be spent more thoughtfully. ED should mandate that districts target use of of Professional Development money in areas and ways that directly address teacher development needs. There’s no way to know what areas teachers need most support without a thorough evaluation system using rigorous MULTIPLE measures.

  15. The NCLB flexibility should be under the supervision and direction of the states. The Federal Government and hand-picked peer reviewers should not be the entity that decides which school receives a “relief” from educating students. This sounds like another grant program for schools who want to climb over the jurisdiction of the state education board and grab some special privilege or money.
    Attempting to reform NCLB by creating a “one-size fits all” or “not very well thought out” approach such as the flexibility idea will not address the many issues associated with student achievement and the achievement gap among students in schools.

  16. I do not believe SES services are driven by parent choice, across the board, nor is their success measured by student’s progress in the classroom, which continues to be a challenge. I think that arguments around who controls the money (and it is never the low income parents or communities) dilute the true issue- which is about academic success for youth. At this point. the current State reporting system in many states is not reflecting overwhelming success either, so I suggest we look at this as an opportunity to continue to try to recognize the strategies that are working and build on those, which does not negate the value of community support and input. It might however, be time to retrieve our advocacy hats and political banners from the attic, and head to our State leadership to force the level of accountability, flexibility and appropriation of resources that is truly need to accomplish the huge task at hand.

    • If states would have improved requirements for becoming an SES provider and eliminated SES providers who showed no progress, SES could have produced larger gains. If SES is considered a failure, I would suggest asking the states why they did not improve the program. Lastly, parents are the driving force behind SES tutoring. The parents that know about the program call the school districts to ask for the applications, they call the providers to determine the best choice for their child, and they meet with the providers to approve learning plans. Parents have the option of online, one-on-one, and small group tutoring. The parent makes the decision. Lastly, most of the providers focus on working grade level and not current grade level. You are not going to see large gains in the student’s classroom if the student is working on previous grade level standards. This is not the fault of the provider; this is the fault of the school system for not providing intervention before the tutoring provider received the student. You cannot expect a 12th grader who does not know how to add fractions or solve a simple equation to pass Algebra II with a tutor. It is not going to happen, but the kid will make gains with tutor. The school districts do not seem to care about those gains; they are only focused on gains based on current grade level state tests. From my years as working as a provider and teacher, I personally believe that the elimination of the SES services will cause harm to many low-income families around the country, and it will send the wrong message to parents.

  17. Arne Duncan has now ended SES tutoring. I will be sure to notify my tutors, parents, and students of your decision to kill the program. By doing what you have done, you have limited parent options. You have limited parent involvement, and you have cut the support from low-income families in this country. You have shut down afterschool programs that are in churches, community centers, and at student homes. You have cut funding to teachers who tutor student’s afterschool. Now the states will have control of the money. Do you think the school districts are going to use the funds to target low-income students? Do you think the school districts are going to provide parent rights for afterschool help? You could have offered flexibility and preserved the parent options that NCLB created.

  18. Your Flexibility Request document states ther is another document titled ESEA Flexibility Review Guidance. This document is not included on this page of downloads. When with the Guidance document be made available?

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