Here is NHPR keeping the education discussion grounded, providing an on-the-ground view of the meaning of New Hampshire’s No Child Left Behind waiver:
But what does the waiver mean for schools and teachers? Much of what’s in the waiver – the Common Core State Standards, a new teacher evaluations model, and support networks for professional development – were efforts already underway in New Hampshire.
The waiver had to address four areas of concern:
· College and Career Ready standards: New Hampshire satisfied this category by adopting the Common Core State Standards, a rigorous set of standards that been taken up by 45 other states.
· Accountability and Support: Under this section New Hampshire had to put together a new set of goal posts for improving student test-scores. Instead of shooting for 100% proficiency – an NCLB goal, which many thought unworkable – NH will seek to decrease the gap between full proficiency by 50% in six years. The bottom performing 5% of schools will be designated “priority schools”, and the 10% of schools with the largest achievement gap (the gap between top performing and bottom performing students) will qualify for additional resources.
· Teacher and Principal Evaluation: schools are already required to have some sort of teacher evaluation system in place, but under the waiver schools accepting federal money for teaching high percentages of poor students will be required to base 20 percent of teacher evaluations on a measure of student growth, be it test scores or a locally developed measure. A little over half of New Hampshire schools accept these “Title I” dollars.
· Reducing unnecessary duplication: This section was meant to spur innovation in terms of reducing administrative costs and streamlining school bureaucracies. In the 126 page waiver document it is given a single page of consideration.