Our state Legislature failed to pass a bill during the 2014 session that would have prevented this from happening. Our state could have maintained its NCLB waiver with a one-word fix (from "may" to "must") on student growth scores being one of multiple measures of assessment in teacher and principal evaluations.
As a result of losing the NCLB waiver, the majority of the schools in our state will be listed as needing improvement or failing under NCLB requirements. And school districts will be required to send letters to parents explaining why their schools are not making measurable, annual progress in improving student learning.
Instead of using those valuable federal funds – in a strategic and timely manner – for such programs as early learning, intervention supports for struggling students or extended-day or after-school programs, our state’s school districts will now have to direct those monies to pay for such things as transporting students to other "non-failing" schools. This does not serve our state's students.
While this decision is disappointing and undeniably bad for our state's neediest students, it is not final. Excellent Schools Now will continue to advocate for Washington's neediest students through a fix in our state law during the 2015 legislative session so Washington state can reapply for and reacquire the valuable federal waiver from punitive, outdated NCLB requirements.