No Child Left Behind Flexibility Waiver

SUMMARY

Under the leadership of the State Board of Education, and after consultation with teacher organizations, principals, superintendents, legislators and the governor, the West Virginia Department of Education is submitting on behalf of our students, parents, leaders, schools and district staff and citizens of the state, our intent to request a Waiver of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) statute by September 6, 2012. This flexibility waiver will allow the state to take two significant steps to support the State Board goals and strategic priorities:

  1. Craft a thoughtful, fair and constructive state accountability system. The new accountability system will focus on assessing both student learning and growth, as well as the learning strategies employed in our schools. It will build capacity in our schools and districts to provide evidence of improvement and engage parents and communities as key stakeholders in the improvement process. It will provide differentiated identification and support systems, and implement data-driven changes in order to improve the learning of all students.
  2. Freeze West Virginia's annual measurable objectives (AMOs) under No Child Left Behind for one year. West Virginia will use the same AMOs for 2011-12 Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) determinations as it used in the 2010-2011 school year. This will reduce the number of new schools that will be labeled inappropriately and forced to undertake improvement plans that are not necessary, warranted, or appropriate.

WAIVER EXPECTATION

The West Virginia Board of Education has made a deep commitment to support the learning of each child in our state. This commitment ensures that we create a high quality public education system that develops students who are healthy, responsible, self-directed and who have the knowledge and Global21 skills necessary for living satisfying and productive lives. In order to attain these goals, the Board is committed to several core actions that we will include in our Waiver request.

WITHOUT A WAIVER

Without a Waiver, West Virginia will be forced to continue to identify schools with inappropriate measures and will not be allowed to focus on personalized learning for our students. Without a waiver, the state fully expects that by 2014 no schools will meet the stringent NCLB requirement and therefore be labeled a failing school ultimately at risk of losing much needed federal funding. In addition, the U.S. Department of Education has been very clear that any state that does not apply or receive a NCLB waiver will be held fully accountable under NCLB requirements. Applying for a waiver is the right thing to do for our students.

NEXT STEPS

We are already beginning the work to convene educators and other stakeholders to develop the components of the Flexibility Waiver. We will work aggressively to encourage full participation and meaningful communication as we develop a new accountability and improvement system.