Flexibility surprises

There are a few surprises in the U.S. Education Department’s flexibility plan, writes Anne Hyslop on Quick and the Ed’s Waiver Wire

The broad strokes of the plan are what we’ve known all along: higher expectations for students based on better standards and assessments; state-designed accountability systems, with discretion to determine how schools should be labeled based on their performance and the interventions they should undertake; annual teacher and principal evaluation systems that are based, in part, on student’s academic growth; and funding flexibility within Title I and Title II to support these reforms.

The good news, writes Hyslop, is that waiver-winning states will have to report college enrollment and credit-accumulation rates for all students (disaggregated into subgroups) by district and high school.

. . . collecting and reporting these specific outcomes will provide policymakers, educators, and the public with real evidence of college readiness. I would have added remediation rates to this list, but I am please that the administration is encouraging states to link high school and postsecondary outcomes.

In addition, states will have to try to do something about 15 percent of schools, not just the bottom 5 percent.

The feds will work with states to evaluate the effectiveness of reform strategies.

On the negative side, Hyslop is disappointed that states won’t be required to use their new teacher evaluation systems to ensure that low-income and minority children have equal access to effective teachers. They won’t even be required to report who gets the best teachers.


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