Tennessee one of 10 states granted waiver from NCLB law

Thursday, February 9, 2012 at 12:49pm

Tennessee is one of 10 states to be freed of the stringent education regulations of the federal No Child Left Behind law, the U.S. Department of Education announced Thursday.

Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration in November submitted an NCLB waiver application to the federal government, outlining a set of reform strategies that address student achievement and increased accountability in exchange for flexibility in applying the controversial Bush-era education law.

With increased standards under the law, half of Tennessee’s schools are failing NCLB standards. In Metro, 55 schools are considered “high priority” after failing to meet so-called “adequate yearly progress” under the law.

States, including Tennessee, are now shielded from a heavily scrutinized requirement that all students be proficient in math and reading by 2014. Meeting that deadline came with severe penalties that are also eliminated.

States have replaced this requirement with their own performance targets, U.S. education department officials say.

Approval of Tennessee’s waiver request had been expected. For more than two years, President Barack Obama’s administration has discussed overhauling NCLB law, long criticized as burdensome mandates riddled with unfair regulations.

“After waiting far too long for congress to reform No Child Left Behind, my administration is giving states the opportunity to set higher, more honest standards in exchange for more flexibility,” Obama said in a statement.

Obama’s set of waiver approvals underscores how the law has quickly lost relevance.

Other states to receiver NCLB waivers are: Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey and Oklahoma.

New Mexico is the only state to have its waiver application denied.

In Tennessee, the waiver approval has some of the most direct implications on the state’s newly formed Achievement School District, a statewide governance body overseeing the most low-performing schools across Tennessee.

The approval of Tennessee’s waiver applications authorizes the ASD to manage 85 schools across Tennessee, 10 of which are in Nashville. Memphis has 68 ASD schools, and Hamilton County has seven eligible schools.

The ASD, led by superintendent Chris Barbic, plans to hand some schools to outside charter school organizations and directly take over others.

By the 2012-13 school year, according to Tennessee’s NCLB waiver, the vision is for ASD to begin managing six schools, three via private charter operators and three through ASD-run operations. The ASD is already co-managing some Tennessee schools. Under the plan, ASD presence would increase each subsequent school year.

As denoted on the NCLB waiver, the 10 Metro schools under the ASD are: Bailey Middle; Brick Church Middle; Buena Vista Elementary Enhanced Option; Gra-Mar Middle; Jere Baxter Middle; John Early Paideia Middle Magnet; Napier Elementary Enhanced Option; Robert Churchwell Museum Magnet Elementary; Smithson-Craighead Middle, a charter school; and Nashville Diploma Plus.

12 Comments on this post:

By: Rasputin72 on 2/9/12 at 12:50

I don't think Alabama,Mississippi and Louisiana care much about applying since they understand that you cannot make chicken salad out of chicken dung.

By: RTungsten on 2/9/12 at 2:03

Nashville Diploma Plus is the name of a school? You have got to be joking.

By: freedan on 2/9/12 at 2:34

If the Congress lets stand the Obama waiver, then Tennessee will see the Obama administration do whatever it wants to in our state.

By: pswindle on 2/9/12 at 3:46

TN is already doing what they want. Just ask Haslam and Register. Now it is legal.
They are destroying one district at a time.

By: djarrell on 2/10/12 at 6:59

Does anyone know how to get a job at one of these schools?

By: pswindle on 2/10/12 at 9:10

Haslam asked for TN to have the waiver. The whole law needs to be repealed. This was one of Bush's brain-storms because children do not learn just teaching to tests.

By: HamBoneHamBone on 2/10/12 at 11:12

"If the Congress lets stand the Obama waiver, then Tennessee will see the Obama administration do whatever it wants to in our state."

Way to conflate the issue there, Dan. This is an education issue only. That you seek to make it some larger "states' rights" issue is a red herring.

NCLB is a bad policy that just about anyone who a) understands education, or b) has an MBA and understands business, realizes. This is a step in the right direction.

By: C.A.Jones on 2/10/12 at 11:12

By reading these comments it looks like many people here are children that got left behind.

"This was one of Bush's brain-storms because children do not learn just teaching to tests". Really? You do not learn just writing post to comments to interwebs darn. Freakin moron.....

By: govskeptic on 2/10/12 at 2:55

Let us correct one misstatement this was very much a Bush-Kennedy Bill. It
was conceived and written by both and would never have passed without lots of democratic votes. Whether the waiver will help or not is unclear, but do
recognize that the TEA will complain about their present lot within the system
and will complain to the high heavens about everything this administration
does! The biggest problem is the number of people who don't think there is
a problem, especially at "their school"!

By: ASD Communications on 2/10/12 at 5:20

We just wanted to provide some clarification on some items in this article. While the Achievement School District has the authority under the law to work with all 85 schools across the state that fall in the bottom performing 5%, our strategy is to work with district leaders and communities most affected to decide the best course of action for those local districts. The ASD will absolutely not compromise quality for scale, meaning that we will not grow beyond our effectiveness. There is too much riding on these decisions and we want to positively impact students in the most struggling schools in the state. That requires an intense focus on creating outstanding schools.

A decision on which schools is yet to be confirmed. We are still working with local districts on that decision.

Charter operators are not private schools. Charter schools are open-enrollment public schools.

To learn more about the Achievement School District, please visit our website at www.tnasd.org, become a fan on Facebook at facebook.com/tnasd and follow us on Twitter @tn_asd.

By: LizzyD on 2/14/12 at 8:50

NCLB was and is nonsense designed to make big bucks for the "preparation and testing" INDUSTRY. Be clear on this. I has nothing at all to do with "education."

By: LizzyD on 2/14/12 at 8:51

Oh, "it." I guess my keyboard isn't as fast as I am, and I failed to check.