Iowa will seek to opt out of No Child Left Behind


October 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Department of Education officials have notified their federal counterparts that the state will seek a waiver from requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. State officials have criticized the law as being too rigid and argued it relied too heavily on standardized test scores. They also said it’s one-dimensional and doesn’t accurately measure how well schools are  performing. Education Department Director Jason Glass said Iowa officials have developed their own rigorous standards and can implement them in a way that ensures students make progress each year. “We expect our schools to meet high standards, but we need to do it in a reasonable way that focuses on students making strong progress every year,” Glass said Wednesday. “The bar has to be reasonable.” Iowa officials announced details of that plan earlier this month.

Glass noted that federal officials have encouraged states to seek a waiver from the federal law, as long as they develop their own systems for measuring the progress students are making. Glass said the formal waiver request will be filed in February. President Barack Obama’s administration announced in August that states were being encouraged to seek a waiver from the law, which requires states to show that a higher proportion of students are reaching proficiency in math and science.

The plan that Glass announced called for linking teacher pay to performance in the classroom as well as setting new testing standards for students, along with developing other methods of measuring student performance. He said measuring performance of a healthy and active child involves more than a single test score, though testing is part of the measurement.