West Virginia is a Step Closer to Getting Out From Under NCLB

April 30, 2013

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia is a step closer to gaining full approval of its No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Flexibility Request after revisions were made to the state’s Educator Evaluation System in response to feedback from federal reviewers.

The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBOE) is seeking permission from the U.S. Department of Education to free West Virginia public schools from certain federal rules and deadlines so the state may focus more on improving learning and instruction. Those rules fell under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as the No Child Left Behind Act. The waiver allows West Virginia to use its own accountability system to more effectively identify struggling schools and to efficiently direct resources to struggling schools.

“In the evaluation system, each teacher sets student learning goals,” said Wade Linger, WVBOE president. “The U.S. Department of Education requested that test data be used to determine progress on the goals when it’s available. For a teacher that doesn’t have math and reading standardized test data for her students, the results will be based on the measures set by the teacher.”

The WVBOE submitted the waiver in September of 2012 in collaboration with several education stakeholders including the West Virginia Governor’s Office and teacher organizations.

“More than a year ago I proposed legislation that established the West Virginia Educator Evaluation System,” said Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. “The evaluation system will enable teachers to receive meaningful feedback about their performance and the resources they need to ensure continuous professional growth.  Our goal is to have great teachers who can provide quality learning opportunities so students are ready for college and career success.”

If approved by the U.S. Department of Education, the NCLB Flexibility Request will provide West Virginia with the flexibility needed to fully implement the Next Generation Content Standards and Objectives. The request also establishes a high-quality accountability system that values individual student academic growth and supports schools as well as expands the Educator Evaluation System pilot.

“We recognize the value of obtaining flexibility within the rules governed under the No Child Left Behind Act,” said Christine Campbell, president of the American Federation of Teachers-WV (AFT-WV). “If granted, AFT-WV welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with the West Virginia Board of Education, the West Virginia Department of Education and all other stakeholders to successfully implement the provisions of the waiver in a way that makes sense for teachers and students.”

“The U.S. Department of Education has made a ruling which puts West Virginia one step closer to moving past the restrictions of the No Child Left Behind Act,” said West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee. “Their ruling creates a small change in the teacher evaluation system we have been piloting and we will work to make those adaptations in the coming year. We must comply with the feedback from the federal reviewers if we are to receive the flexibility waiver.”

The state’s flexibility request still holds schools accountable for student achievement results but it will shift from a large number of schools not meeting Adequate Yearly Progress to a smaller number of schools flagged for targeted support.  

For more information, contact the Office of Communication at (304) 558-2699. 

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