Tuesday, March 18, 2008

No NCLB Flexibility for Kentucky

It looks like Kentucky won't be among the first ten states to fix the unreasonable portions of No Child Left Behind. That's too bad.

The time lost to the Barbara Erwin debacle may have cost Kentucky a great opportunity to revise its NCLB benchmarks.

But the way things worked out, Jon Draud had been Commissioner for about five minutes when the US Office of Education issued an invitation for qualifying states to come up with a revised plan. ...and the General Assembly was about to meet.

It is not assured that the feds previous approval of Kentucky's testing system would be enough to qualify, but KDE may not be in a position to respond anyhow.

KDE Communications Director Lisa Gross told Kentucky School News and Commentary there are "no formal plans to apply for this round of flexibility," but state education leaders "will be discussing it."

With only one regular meeting before the deadline," the timeline is likely too short for the Kentucky Board of Education to review and make a decision by May 1," Gross said.

Unfortunately, some of our hardest working teachers will have to wait a little longer for a more reasonable accountability system.

This from the Associated Press:


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Bush administration is trying to address one of the most common complaints about the No Child Left Behind education law: It treats schools the same, regardless of whether they fail to meet annual benchmarks by a little or a lot.

Education Secretary Margaret Spellings plans to announce Tuesday that she wants states to submit proposals for assigning different consequences to schools based on the degree to which they miss annual progress goals.

...Educators have complained that the consequences for failing to hit yearly progress goals are the same for schools in which one group of students misses the mark as it is for schools in which many groups or many grades fail to hit targets.... ...The new initiative will allow states to distinguish between "on-fire schools and those with a smolder," Spellings said in an interview Monday.

...Only a limited number of states — 10 in all — will be able to participate at first. Spellings said states must submit proposals by May and that only carefully thought-out plans would get a green light. "Not every state will meet the core principles that are required," she said. "This is complicated stuff that requires sound data systems, good reporting systems." ...

...The six-year-old education law is up for renewal in Congress, but lawmakers trying to advance it haven't gained much traction. Without congressional action, the existing law remains in place. Spellings said she didn't think her efforts to improve the law through administrative action would further stymie efforts on Capitol Hill. "Plan A continues to be getting a good law done as soon as possible," she said.


2 comments:

Anonymous said...

The real reason the KDE isn't going after this added flexibility might be related to these comments from the quoted article:

{...Only a limited number of states — 10 in all — will be able to participate at first. Spellings said states must submit proposals by May and that only carefully thought-out plans would get a green light. "Not every state will meet the core principles that are required," she said. "This is complicated stuff that requires sound data systems, good reporting systems." ...}

Recent testimony in the Kentucky legislature has made it clear that CATS can't produce high quality data on individual students. That raises issues about the threshold number of students required to create any sort of "quality" data from the CATS matrixed testing format.

I don't think the science exists to answer that question, and the KDE probably doesn't want such questions raised, either, and certainly not in Washington.

The Principal said...

Perhaps Kentucky wouldn't qualify...that's a valid question.

But let's not use legislative testimony as the gold standard for anything other than politics.

And, when it comes to politics, don't miss the point that Spelling's offer to limit flexibility to 10 states is nothing but good old fashioned incrementalism. If the Bush administration didn't need more votes for NCLB reauthorization the number of states allowed flexibility would remain at zero.

Kentucky presently has a system that penalizes schools that miss NCLB targets by a little, the same as those who miss their targets by a lot. It needs to be changed to a fair system that rewards growth whether normative student data is a part of it or not.

If the suggestion is that Senate Bill 1 might fix the problem - it won't.