Education

More News | |

Georgia gets 'No Child' waiver

Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012 7:17 AM
Last updated Friday, Feb. 10, 2012 1:23 AM
  • Follow Education

As President Obama granted Georgia a waiver from certain provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind Act on Thursday, some local officials say the move is key for making needed changes in education.

“I think it’s a positive thing for the state,” said James Whitson, the acting superintendent of the Richmond County school system. “Georgia is trying to reform education, and being evaluated on more of a balanced scorecard versus just on a single test is a better measure.”

Georgia was one of 10 states granted a waiver from No Child Left Behind provisions, including the requirement for 100 percent of students to be proficient in reading and math by 2014. In its place for the 2012-13 school year, Georgia will implement a College and Career Ready Performance Index, which measures student growth on a variety of indicators.

Carol Rountree, Richmond County’s executive director of student services, called the waiver “exciting,” saying she was concerned about the narrow measurements of No Child Left Behind, including the Adequate Yearly Progress standards that labeled schools as failing or passing based on student performance on one standardized test.

AYP was designed so that a school could be labeled as failing if one student in a certain subgroup, such as a racial group or students with disabilities, didn’t pass the Criteria-Referenced Competency Tests or was absent too many days.

In Richmond County, 30 out of 55 schools failed to make AYP last school year.

The 10 states receiving the waiver no longer have to meet the AYP targets but must set new performance targets aimed at improving student learning and closing achievement gaps between different groups of students.

Georgia’s College and Career Ready Performance Index must recognize and reward high-performing schools while targeting rigorous interventions for the lowest-performing schools. The new design must continue improving educational outcomes for underperforming subgroups of children but will give districts greater flexibility in how they spend federal Title I dollars, according to a White House news release.

As part of the waiver, the Georgia Department of Education will identify Priority Schools, Focus Schools and Reward Schools. Priority and Focus schools will replace current Needs Improvement schools at the end of this school year as the ones targeted for more state assistance because of subpar results on state tests. Reward Schools will replace the current Distinguished Schools designation and will be announced in September.

Although inspiring to educators, the waiver granted by the U.S. Department of Education for Georgia is also conditional.

The state must submit a revised waiver request during the 2012-13 school year clarifying how the performance index will work. If the state doesn’t do this, its waiver expires at the end of 2012-13, and Georgia would again be held to all parts of No Child Left Behind.

The No Child Left Behind Act, passed in 2001, came up for reauthorization in 2007, but it has languished since then.

“After waiting far too long for Congress to reform No Child Left Behind, my administration is giving states the opportunity to set higher, more honest standards in exchange for more flexibility,” Obama said during his announcement of which states received waivers Thursday. “Today, we’re giving 10 states the green light to continue making reforms that are best for them. Because if we’re serious about helping our children reach their potential, the best ideas aren’t going to come from Washington alone. Our job is to harness those ideas and to hold states and schools accountable for making them work.”

In September, Obama called President George W. Bush’s signature domestic law an admirable but flawed effort that hurt students instead of helping them. He said action was necessary because Congress failed to update the law despite widespread bipartisan agreement that it needs fixing. Republicans have charged that by granting waivers, Obama is overreaching his authority.

Thomas Koballa, the dean of Georgia Southern University’s College of Education, said components of the law, such as the 100 percent reading and math proficiency expectation, were unrealistic expectations for schools and districts.

He said the College and Career Ready Performance Index will still hold schools accountable but with a more manageable system.

The index will focus on post-high school preparedness and career awareness, although the details of the system are still being determined. Schools will measure students on things like content mastery and will monitor growth from elementary to high school.

“CRCT is given one day in the spring, and that was the sole measure of (student) success or their learning of a year and also of a teacher’s success,” Koballa said. “We’re dealing with multiple populations and to expect every student to achieve success is unrealistic. I think anyone, no matter what their career is, they would hope to be judged or evaluated multiple times.”

Jene Kinnitt, the assistant principal of instruction at Glenn Hills High School, said that although the requirements of No Child Left Behind seemed unattainable for many school districts, they forced educators to focus on subgroups of children they never paid attention to before.

“That made us more accountable,” Kinnitt said. “It caused us to change our instruction. It caused us to differentiate so we could teach all of our students.”

She said the new College and Career Ready Performance Index will be a different kind of pressure for school systems with different focuses. Although the logic of AYP was highly debated nationally, Kinnett said one positive was the accountability it created, which she wants to see continue.

“I like the accountability that came with AYP,” she said. “It made us work, and I want our students to exceed the minimum standards. What I see is our schools trying to get 100 percent of our students to graduation.”

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Comments (17) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
bdittle
78
Points
bdittle 02/09/12 - 08:14 am
0
0
Socialist!! ... oh wait,

Socialist!! ... oh wait, nevermind.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 02/09/12 - 08:31 am
0
0
Congressional gridlock at the

Congressional gridlock at the expense of our kids? Gasp! How could this happen?

break, gimme one

scorehouse
196
Points
scorehouse 02/09/12 - 09:12 am
0
0
its all about indoctrination
Unpublished

its all about indoctrination not education. state schools on the whole are massive failures due to the educratocracy, unions, and parents who could care less. there is a reason if you ace the SAT, you will get preference over your inflated high school GPA. they want everyone to be dependent. that's why they almost force student loans on people so they will be in debt once they get out of college with a worthless degree. you think freddie and fannie screwed us, wait until the Federal student loans programs goes up in smoke. i.e., loan forgiveness on the backs of taxpayers.

Craig Spinks
818
Points
Craig Spinks 02/09/12 - 09:16 am
0
0
KUDOS to Dr. John Barge and

KUDOS to Dr. John Barge and his reform team at GDOE for making this happen. Now Georgia parents and other taxpayers will no longer be the victims of educractic deception based upon the manipulation of test data generated by the administration of woefully expensive and unnecessary "tailor-made" tests.

Little Lamb
48969
Points
Little Lamb 02/09/12 - 09:24 am
0
0
Government by waiver is the

Government by waiver is the hallmark of the Obama administration. It is modeled after the Italian governmental system of Benito Mussolini. That system sets up an entangling web of government rules, regulations, and mandates — then grants waivers to those the leader deems worthy.

dickworth1
954
Points
dickworth1 02/09/12 - 09:34 am
0
0
ok, now lets leave obama
Unpublished

ok, now lets leave obama behind!

Little Lamb
48969
Points
Little Lamb 02/09/12 - 09:35 am
0
0
Ditto that!

Ditto that!

raul
5729
Points
raul 02/09/12 - 09:40 am
0
0
Abolish the Dept of

Abolish the Dept of Education!

raul
5729
Points
raul 02/09/12 - 10:42 am
0
0
No Child Left Behind, a real

No Child Left Behind, a real mess. What was George thinking?

Bizkit
35500
Points
Bizkit 02/09/12 - 10:48 am
0
0
Didn't Obama recently say it

Didn't Obama recently say it should be mandated that all students graduate from high school??? So I guess accountablity is just a ploy, and his plans will likely be just as flawed if not more so from Bush. Obama as Bush lite again. If

scorehouse
196
Points
scorehouse 02/09/12 - 10:49 am
0
0
he was thinking that
Unpublished

he was thinking that education is about educating. its a business, big business. did you know there are international recruiting firms that are paid mega-bucks if they can get "paying" students for your school? these are the same group that encourage OWS, 1% and any other class warfare while enriching themsleves via your taxes and the donations of brainwashed morons.

jpbeck78
0
Points
jpbeck78 02/09/12 - 11:48 am
0
0
isn't this a good thing?

isn't this a good thing? this will raise the bar for students and provide better quality education for kids, correct, or am i mistaken?

Little Lamb
48969
Points
Little Lamb 02/09/12 - 11:51 am
0
0
You are mistaken. The bar is

You are mistaken. The bar is not being raised. Georgia and the other states got the waivers because they admitted they cannot meet the existing bar by the deadline. So they get an extension of the deadline and exemption from some of the rules so they can set up some new rules for themselves.

Not one bar is being raised, and "quality education for the kids" is in the eye of the beholder. It is entirely subjective.

Sweet son
11585
Points
Sweet son 02/09/12 - 02:09 pm
0
0
It does seem to set up a

It does seem to set up a situation to laxen the threat of the feds withholding funds for schools. Am I right or wrong?

corgimom
38321
Points
corgimom 02/09/12 - 06:20 pm
0
0
It's about time! NCLB is the

It's about time! NCLB is the biggest disaster that has ever been perpetrated on American education. Yes!

Hucklebuck
43
Points
Hucklebuck 02/09/12 - 06:48 pm
0
0
I don’t see why this thing

I don’t see why this thing was hated so much. It gave the community a chance to see which schools were failing and which teachers suck. Now we are going back to the days of no professional accountability and children getting pushed through. I actually worked with a high school junior who couldn’t read but passed every grade. This is what the union wants no accountability. We have to demand more because we are falling behind. I have seen students with A’s and B’s on their report cards but yet they fail the CRCT test. Another thing here in Georgia we need to get rid of the law that allows 16 year old’s to drop out of school whenever the hell they want to. But again this place was never big on education because you could always get daddy’s old riding lawn mower and start a lawn service. This isn’t 20-30 years ago when you could have made a decent living without an education.Times have changed and those jobs are now going to the illegals. You can’t even join the army without a diploma or GED because they found out they were spending millions training uneducated idiots to be soldiers.

KSL
143582
Points
KSL 02/09/12 - 07:09 pm
0
0
Right on, Raul. There is a

Right on, Raul. There is a high correlation between the deterioration of public education and the existence of that crowd.

dstewartsr
20393
Points
dstewartsr 02/09/12 - 08:31 pm
0
0
"I don’t see why this thing

"I don’t see why this thing was hated so much..."

Because no matter how reasonable and even desirable the concept, it was transmogrified in typical Washington fashion: A great idea using faulty premises, legislated into unrealistic goals and rewards for bad behaviour.

The first faulty premise was all children are able to be educated. That was enough to sink the notion right there. Not all kids want or are capable of being educated because of intelligence or cultural aversion to academics. Asking children who cannot get the concept of ordinal numbers to graduate calculus classes alongside students capable of that and much more frustrates both. Then penalizing the teachers when they don't pass- only Washington could come up with that as an effective implementation policy.

The absurd notion of additional funding for failing schools only works in the looking glass world of Congress. Schools should be rewarded for success rather than failure.

The figurative cherry on the top of this crap cocktail of legislation is the concept that disruptive, apathetic and even violent thugs be kept in class. In order to enforce this moronic edict, let's punish schools who weed out the bad seed.

But there are good features. . . .

Ummmmm give me time to come up with some.

TK3
562
Points
TK3 02/09/12 - 10:59 pm
0
0
Get Big Brother FEDERAL

Get Big Brother FEDERAL government out of the schoolroom !

Craig Spinks
818
Points
Craig Spinks 02/10/12 - 02:03 am
0
0
Hucklebuck, Here numerous

Hucklebuck,

Here numerous educrats and other community "leaders" don't want The People to know how badly and how many of our schools and our teachers "suck."

A lot of people are making a lot of money maintaining a dysfunctional public school operation. And why should The People really care? What we're throwing away is only the futures of poor and minority kids who don't count for much anyway, the educrats and "leaders" surmise.

avidreader
3558
Points
avidreader 02/10/12 - 05:31 am
0
0
CCRPI -- we can break down

CCRPI -- we can break down this acronym and call it "Creepie". Maybe the state DOE will allocate its Title One money to hiring a butt load of truant officers to deal with negligent parents and absentee children. Generally speaking, the only kids who fail my class are habitual truants. Put their behinds in a desk, and I can prepare them for a successful high school career. There are some exceptions, but not many.

cozzster
50
Points
cozzster 02/11/12 - 02:01 am
0
0
jpbeck78 - "isn't this a good
Unpublished

jpbeck78 - "isn't this a good thing? this will raise the bar for students and provide better quality education for kids, correct, or am i mistaken?"

JP, looks like you were left behind.

GA = left behind with no chance of ever catching up.

Back to Top

Top headlines

Kettle donations rise in 2014

After a disappointing showing last year, donations to the Salvation Army's local Red Kettle Campaign have risen nearly 20 percent in 2014.
Search Augusta jobs