NewsEducationEducation Policy / December 18, 2013

How NCLB Waivers Are Changing Which Schools States Target For Improvement

How NCLB Waivers Are Changing Which Schools States Target For Improvement

States that have sought flexibility from the federal government in the form of waivers are using very different criteria to target underperforming schools for intervention than they did under No Child Left Behind.

That’s according to a recently released report from New America Foundation policy analyst Anne Hyslop, who compared accountability under NCLB to state-led efforts the next school year.

Hyslop writes that under the new system, the choices individual states made about how to design an accountability system mattered less than the fact the federal government dictated states intervene in 15 percent of Title I schools.

“So it was shifting from an absolute system of accountability to one that was all relative — essentially, we’re now grading schools on a curve,” Hyslop tells StateImpact.

But while most states Hyslop studied identified fewer schools in need of improvement under the waivers, Indiana actually designated more schools as “focus” and “priority” after appealing to the federal government for flexibility.

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