Press Release

Statement from The Education Trust on the U.S. Department of Education’s ESEA Waiver Renewal Guidelines

WASHINGTON (November 13, 2014) — Kati Haycock, president of The Education Trust issued the following statement on the U.S. Department of Education’s ESEA waiver renewal guidelines announced today.

“Amid all the controversies created by No Child Left Behind, most educators agree that the law got one thing right: It fundamentally reshaped school accountability for an increasingly diverse country. No longer was it possible to be a ‘good’ school coasting by on schoolwide averages and sweeping large achievement gaps under the rug. To be a good school, a school had to do well by all the children it served.

“The administration’s 2011 waiver guidelines allowed states to back away from that focus on all groups of children. The results were worrisome. As we demonstrated in our October 2014 report, Making Sure All Children Matter, many schools received top ratings when their performance for low-income students or students of color was, at best, mediocre — and sometimes declining.

“The renewal guidelines issued today begin to restore the focus of federal accountability on all groups of children. States will now be prohibited from giving top ratings to schools with high or improving performance for some groups, but not others. As Americans, we should welcome that renewed focus on the inequalities that eat away at our democracy.

“The guidelines could — and should — have gone further. Schools should not receive A’s or other top ratings when they are leaving whole groups of children behind, but they shouldn’t receive B’s for D work or C’s for F work, either. We hope that the states will demonstrate their ability to lead on matters of equity by treating these new guidelines as a floor, not a ceiling.”

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