State granted NCLB waiver

Published 4:41 pm Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Dr. Tommy Bice, Alabama State Superintendent of Education, announced on Friday that the Alabama Department of Education has been granted a waiver to be released from many of the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act.

The waiver will allow the Department of Education to use PLAN 2020 – an Alabama specific plan to measure public school achievement.

Bice said the No Child Left Behind Act, which was passed in 2001, was well intended, but that it’s rigid “all-or-nothing” expectations did not account for improvement shown by schools that failed to meet the Adequate Yearly Progress expectations.

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“PLAN 2020 is a rigorous and comprehensive Alabama-developed plan designed to improve educational outcomes for all students, close achievement gaps, increase equity, and improve the quality of instruction,” Bice said.  “The waiver from NCLB is just one part of the overall PLAN 2020 approach. Ultimately, what will result is a system that uses the college and career readiness of its graduates as its capstone measure of success.”

PLAN 2020 establishes a graduation rate goal of 73 percent for 2013, 76 percent in 2014 and 78 percent in 2015. By 2016, the state hopes to achieve a graduation rate of 90 percent.

The state’s graduation rate for 2012 was 75 percent, while Butler County’s graduation rate was 66 percent.

As a system, the Butler County School District has failed to meet AYP for two years. The last round of scores released in August showed the district failed to meet the goals in reading for special education students in grades 3-5, special education students in grades 6-8 and special education students, black students and free/reduced lunch students in high school. The district also failed to meet the goals in math for special education students in grades 6-8.

Greenville High School was the lone school in the district not to make AYP. It failed to meet the reading goals for all students, special education students and free/reduced lunch students.

Approximately 75 percent of Alabama schools met AYP for 2011-12, compared to nearly 73 percent in 2010-11.

Dr. Melinda Maddox, Assistant State Superintendent of Education for Research, Information, and Data Services, said the portion of PLAN 2020 that measures student performance is far more informative than AYP was in terms of truly identifying weaknesses in educational progress, addressing specific needs, and recognizing the areas in which schools and students are truly progressing.

“We are focused on closing achievement gaps, increasing graduation rates, moving students to proficiency, and making sure our graduates are prepared for college and/or a career without remediation,” Maddox said. “We now have a plan for our state to guide us to this new goal.”