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Signed and sealed
January 17, 2018
Federal officials deny New York testing waivers but sign off on its plan for judging schools
The department mostly signed off on New York’s vision though they required some important tweaks.
July 17, 2015
Indiana finalizes new A-to-F model for 2015-16
The new rules will equally weigh ISTEP passing rates and student test score improvement.
July 17, 2015
Test yourself: Do you know the basics of Indiana education?
It's a good time to brush up on your Indiana education knowledge. Try your hand at our quiz that includes questions on our four newest "basics" posts out this week.
Politics & Policy
July 15, 2015
The basics of Indiana’s NCLB waiver: An ongoing debate
In 2012, Indiana negotiated a waiver from sanctions of NCLB, making promises to the federal government in exchange. Ever since, managing it has been a bit messy.
Teaching & Classroom
April 23, 2015
Indiana kids learning English are getting less funding, more testing
More than 15 years of steep growth in the number of English language learners in Indiana schools might require a reconsideration of funding and accountability policies.
Student & School Performance
April 6, 2015
Could the battle over ISTEP put Indiana's NCLB waiver in jeopardy?
A showdown is brewing this week over the future of ISTEP, but expect a new question to be raised: could changes to state tests could put…
May 29, 2012
Feds grant NY a waiver to swap new promises for NCLB rules
New York State will be freed from the most onerous requirements of the decade-old No Child Left Behind law, under the terms of a waiver awarded today by the U.S. Department of Education. In exchange, the state will begin assessing districts and schools on their students' progress instead of simply their performance — and districts that fall short will get extra funding and support starting this fall. Lists of lagging schools, which will now be known as "Focus" schools, will be released by the end of June, according to a State Education Department spokesman. The state will also publish lists of "Reward" schools that will merit extra funds because of their strong performance. The Obama administration introduced the waiver program as a way around Congress, which so far has declined to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, renamed No Child Left Behind during George W. Bush's presidency. NCLB required all students to be "proficient" by 2014 in a quixotic that goal left more schools labeled as failing each year without urging states to action. “The waiver lets New York move away from NCLB requirements that were unproductive or unrealistic,” said State Education Commissioner King in a statement. “We can evaluate schools in terms of both student growth and proficiency and recognize schools in which students are making good progress toward meeting standards of college and career readiness.”
October 26, 2011
Diverse set of representatives to state's NCLB waiver 'think tank'
The former principal of a now-closed city high school, a Columbia University economist, and a junior executive at the Department of Education are among the 32 people advising the state on how to apply for an exemption from No Child Left Behind's requirements. The officials represent 24 stakeholder organizations from around the state, including parent groups, unions, charter school advocates, and school districts. They form what's being termed a "think tank" which is charged with coming up with a consensus of recommendations to submit to State Education Commissioner John King and Assistant Commissioner Ira Schwartz, who is overseeing the group. The last time such a group was convened, for the teacher evaluation law passed last year, it ended in a lawsuit. According to the state teachers union, education officials rejected several key provisions proposed by a 63-member "task force" at the last minute. The new group assigned to the NCLB waiver might not be as contentious, some members who served on both groups said. For one, state officials specifically renamed the group from a "task force" to a "think tank" — in part to remind the members of their advisory role. A spokesman for NYSED said King and Schwartz pass the task force's recommendations – as well as their own – onto the state Board of Regents, which has final decision-making power.
October 17, 2011
At long last, New York says it will jump on the NCLB waiver train
ALBANY — New York is joining the vast majority of states seeking to escape some of the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind law. The Obama administration announced in August that it would offer states a chance to skirt some of NCLB’s strictest provisions, including the one that requires all students to score proficient on state tests by 2014. Last month, federal officials fleshed out the requirements and states lined up to apply — 39 so far, plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. New York seemed to be a strong contender but officials here had not said until now whether the state would seek a waiver. Today, state education officials announced that they plan to file a waiver application by the federal government's second deadline, in mid-February. Between now and then, a "think tank" of representatives from nearly two dozen education organizations will advise the State Education Department on its application, officials said today during a meeting of the Board of Regents. The think tank — whose members come from teachers unions, advocacy groups, reform organizations, and rural and urban school districts — have met twice already to plan and will discuss substantive issues for the first time when it convenes on Wednesday. Ira Schwartz, the assistant commissioner in NYSED's accountability office, will oversee the application process.
December 2, 2010
Where is Cathie Black today? Not in school, but on the phone
Soon-to-be Chancellor Cathie Black is not visiting schools today — not even privately — but she is making phone calls to elected officials. Black put in a call to Assemblywoman Joan Millman, a former New York City teacher who urged State Education Commissioner David Steiner to deny Black the waiver she needed to become the next schools chancellor. "Cathie introduced herself and the assemblywoman said, "It's not personal, no offense, but as a former educator I'd like for there to have been a public search and I think the chancellor should have an education background,'" said Millman's Chief of Staff Paul Nelson. "It was a very brief conversation, less than five minutes," he said. Millman's staff is in the process of drafting a bill that would prevent someone like Black, who has years of experience in the publishing business, but none in the education world, from becoming chancellor. It would take away the commissioner's ability to give a candidates a waiver if they don't have the education credentials required in state law.
November 19, 2010
Commissioner names panel of experts to screen new chancellor
State Education Commissioner David Steiner has named the panel of education experts that will help him decide whether to allow magazine executive Cathie Black to become the next schools chancellor. Without a background in education, Black needs a waiver from the state that will let her bypass the prerequisites: that she have a degree in education and several years of teaching behind her. Though the final decision rests with Steiner, the panel will play a role in reviewing the city's case for why Black is qualified and making a recommendation. Reviewing the list of panel members, New York University Professor Pedro Noguera said the commissioner had covered his bases. "Steiner's aware that this is very controversial," Noguera said. "So if you think about it, instead of just him making the decision he can say, 'Look, I got a group of very reputable people in education who agreed with me.'"
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