University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy

Breaking News: US DoE Approves AR School Accountability Changes

In AR Legislature on June 29, 2012 at 10:22 am

BREAKING NEWS … June 29, 2012 … The US Department of Education announced today that Arkansas is one of five more states to be granted flexibility from some long-standing requirements of No Child Left Behind.

The Arkansas Department of Education announced today that the US Department of Education had approved the state’s waiver request for flexibility from some key requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act.  While it’s too early for any analysis from the OEP, we can share the following with our readers.  Click here to review all of the documents related to the Arkansas waiver application and click here to download and review all 158 pages of the actual application re-submitted by the ADE on June 18.   Finally, you can also read a short summary of the key points of the Arkansas’ plan published by the ADE.

Pasted below is the text from the ADE Press Release on this issue.  Happy Friday!

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News Release

June 29, 2012

US Department of Education Approval Allows State to Concentrate on Improving Struggling Schools

LITTLE ROCK — The US Department of Education announced today that Arkansas is one of five more states to be granted flexibility from some long-standing requirements of No Child Left Behind.

Under the ruling, Arkansas will reward some schools for exemplary performance and improvement and distribute targeted resources to help persistently struggling schools. The state’s plan for flexibility under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) runs parallel with the implementation of college and career ready learning standards and efforts to strengthen educator evaluation.

Education Commissioner Dr. Tom Kimbrell is grateful for the flexibility Secretary Duncan has given the state to provide stronger tools to improve schools.

“This flexibility allows Arkansas to evaluate schools in terms of performance, growth and graduation rate,” said Kimbrell. “We are not turning our back on accountability. With our new system of accountability, support and intervention, we will focus on specific problems unique to each public school in Arkansas.”

The new accountability system is anchored in college and career readiness for all students. Like previous models, it continues annual public reporting of student outcome measures in math and literacy to assess school performance. However, this more robust system also includes student achievement growth measures and high school graduation rates. The new system holds all schools and districts accountable for improving student performance and creates five performance classifications that determine consequences and guide interventions and supports.

The state’s goal is to ensure all students graduate from high school ready for success in college or a career. This flexibility is one step closer to fulfilling the goal of a better educated workforce.

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