More Education “Waivers”… Education Department to Give Schools Leeway on Test Scores

Caroline Porter:

In a conciliatory move to appease opponents of recent testing policies, the U.S. Department of Education will give some states leeway in tying teacher evaluations to students’ test scores for the coming school year.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan made the announcement during a back-to-school meeting on Thursday with teachers at a District of Columbia public school.

In a blog post summarizing the news, Mr. Duncan said “the bottom line is that educators deserve strong support as our schools make vital, and urgently needed, changes.”

After Congress failed to reauthorize the No Child Left Behind Act, the Obama administration granted waivers from the legislation to 43 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. Those waivers require that states make certain reforms, including tying student test scores to teacher evaluations.

Under the new policy, states can request a one-year delay in implementing the new evaluations, as long as they agree schools will collect student test scores and growth metrics and that schools will still share those metrics with teachers.

Not every state with a waiver will be able to take advantage of this delay, which only applies to the some 40 states that are transitioning to new tests this spring.