Last week, 11 states applied for waivers from many of the Elementary
and Secondary Education Act’s most onerous provisions. Their
applications are now online, ready to be sliced and diced by any willing wonk. (Anne Hyslop of Education Sector has already taken a cut.) We at Fordham have tried to make the task a little bit easier by posting two compilations: First, the Common Core implementation plans for all 11 states, and second, all of their accountability proposals. Both are huge files but if your plans this weekend include a lot of downtime, have at ‘em.
Personally, I’m most interested in the states’ plans around
accountability. Partly that’s because this is the only part of this
waiver process that I find legitimate and legal;
the Department of Education has no business demanding that states adopt
and implement the Common Core standards or rigorous teacher
evaluations. But if it’s going to allow states to opt-out of the law’s
Adequate Yearly Progress system, it certainly has the right to set
boundaries around the alternatives. And partly it’s because the major
sticking point in the current negotiations over ESEA reauthorization
comes down to accountability, and how much leeway to give the states.
So what do these 11 states want to do differently on the
accountability front? Particularly when it comes to identifying schools
that should be subject to some sort of sanctions or interventions?