Ohio's ESEA Waiver Proposal
The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) is submitting a request for the waiver of specific elements of the No Child Left Behind Act. OEA generally supports Ohio’s request for the waiver, although we have reservations about certain reform strategies that are included. Our support is based on the fact that Ohio’s request is focused on students and schools achieving success — not on negative sanctions – and that this alternative, while imperfect, is better than NCLB. So, we have pledged to continue collaborating with ODE on those initiatives that benefit our members, our students and public education.
The new report card included in Ohio’s waiver request is one of those elements that is focused on school and district improvement (above, at or below expected growth in terms of the state indicators met), not the dead end of the current Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) system. This system would include letter grades (A-F), rather than the current rating system of six categories spanning from “excellent with distinction” to “academic emergency.” Those grades would address four categories (student performance, school performance, gap closing, student progress) and an overall average grade. It would reward schools for “gap closing,” i.e., progress on closing achievement gaps.
The waiver also extends the timeline for districts to raise their ratings. However, with the transition to new standards and a new assessment system in the near future, chances are that the first few years of reporting will appear to be more negative than positive. Therefore, it is imperative that the school district leadership, including the teacher’s association, help all educators and the community to understand the changes and recognize that progress that is being made toward raising student achievement and closing the gaps.
ODE sponsored a webinar where ODE staff discussed with school district leaders and teacher union leaders information concerning Ohio’s request for a waiver of specific elements of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). Click here for the PowerPoint presentation that was used. Click here for the State Board of Education's 2011 ESEA Reauthorization Plan.