W.V. receives waiver from federal education law

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May 28, 2013

West Virginia

By Phil Sletten

CHARLESTON, West Virginia: The West Virginia Department of Education will be given authority to identify failing schools with their own system, according to a waiver issued by the federal government. The federal government issued the limited exemption from the national No Child Left Behind law, which aimed to bring all students to grade-level performance by 2014.[1]

The West Virginia State Legislature approved a system for measuring school and teacher performance in 2011, but those metrics were not the same as those set forth in federal law. The No Child Left Behind law measures school performance based primarily on test scores, while the West Virginia Accountability Index will identify a school's strengths and weaknesses based on five categories. Proponents of the West Virginia system say the measurements will be more comprehensive and make more sense to educators and parents.[2]

West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin (D) heralded the waiver.[2]

According to West Virginia Public Broadcasting, Tomblin praised West Virginia's plan, saying "We’re including the completion of career and technical education classes, attendance, graduation rates and student performance as well as having the Department of Education review every school every year in an effort to identify strengths and weaknesses."[2]

A recent audit of state education that was critical of the system's performance spurred both the application for the federal waiver and many proposed changes to state education law.[1]

West Virginia's waiver brings the number of states that have been granted a waiver from at least one portion of No Child Left Behind to 37.[1]

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