Florida's NCLB waiver request raises questions, group says
Eleven states have asked the Obama administration for waivers to No Child Left Behind. Florida leaders have said they want to eliminate the confusion that arises when residents see that schools get good marks in the state's rating system but don't meet annual federal progress standards.
The Center for American Progress has reviewed the waiver proposals to see if they meet the administration's "ambitious but achievable" reform goal. It found Florida's application middling, along with Colorado, Indiana, Minnesota and New Mexico.
"Florida would award school grades based on achievement and growth, but would also include the performance of a “botom 25 percent” of students. This has pros and cons as discussed above, and the state would give schools credit for making as litle as 5 percent gains with this group. It is also unclear whether Florida would simply report this data or use it to hold schools accountable for subgroup progress.
"Florida will base educator ratings half on student growth and half on professional practice. The state has already developed evaluation guidelines required by the waiver application, and its longitudinal data system and state policies support their evaluation reforms. Plus, Florida participates in the teacher-Student Data Link Project that works to accurately attribute student learning to the appropriate teachers."
The organization rates the applications of Massachusetts and Tennessee as best, urging the administration not to rush into approving every proposal and to ask more questions before acting. Read its full report here.