April 25, 2014

Loss of Waiver Gets Okla. Officials’ Attention

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Nate Robson

Nate Robson

EDUCATION WATCH BLOG
April 25, 2014

The reimplementation of the federal No Child Left Behind Act in Washington state has Oklahoma education officials on alert since a similar move here would tie up $29 million in federal funding.

The U.S. Department of Education revoked Washington’s No Child Left Behind waiver Thursday because the state failed to implement a teacher evaluation system as promised.

Loss of the waiver means all Washington students must meet requirements dictated under No Child Left Behind starting next school year. The biggest requirement is all students must score well enough on state assessments to be considered proficient in math and reading.

Schools with even one child failing to meet proficiency would have to set aside 20 percent of their federal funding for use in programs established under No Child Left Behind.

Oklahoma is asking for a two-year extension in the full implementation of its teacher evaluation system in accordance with its waiver. Legislation is also pending that could remove the Common Core academic standards and some high stakes testing, both of which were conditions in Oklahoma’s waiver.

In Oklahoma, only two out of nearly 1,760 schools would likely have 100 percent of their students meeting proficiency requirements. Oklahoma gets about $149 million in federal funding.

Department of Education spokeswoman Tricia Pemberton said limits on federal funding going to schools with high rates of poverty could potentially lead to layoffs since less money would be available for staffing.

Oklahoma, unlike Washington, is still implementing its teacher evaluation system. The state is just asking to extend the timeline for full implementation.

“We can show this is an ongoing process, which gives us hope we can get an extension,” she said.

Washington was the first state to lose its waiver.

Nate Robson can be reached at nrobson@oklahomawatch.org

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