The Education Department said Thursday that three of 40 states granted waivers from the No Child Left Behind law were at high risk of losing them, because they either have been slow to link teacher evaluations with student achievement or had adopted programs that didn't meet federal guidelines.
If they fail to comply with federal requirements by May, Kansas, Oregon and Washington state face losing their waivers from the George W. Bush-era law, which could entail a loss of autonomy over some funding decisions and changes in how school districts' performance is judged.
The Education Department granted all three states approval to continue their waiver programs for the 2013-2014 school year and asked each to submit a plan of recourse within the next month.
Oregon plans to appeal the designation, while Kansas is undecided and Washington won't appeal, state officials said.
This is first time states have been given such a warning for this program, federal officials said. "What we really need is for states to commit to a solution to show what works for them and meets our broad parameters," said an Education Department official during a conference call Thursday.
Oregon and Kansas have been trying to create teacher evaluations systems tied to test scores that work well - but Arne Duncan and the USDOE don't care about that.
They just want teacher evaluations tied to test scores NOW:
Both Kansas and Oregon said they needed more time to finesse their pilot programs for teacher and principal evaluations. While Oregon hasn't decided on a definite program to use, Kansas wants more time to perfect its plan of choice.
"It appears that they want us to go at a faster pace than what we are prepared to do at this time," said Diane DeBacker, commissioner of education in Kansas. Ms. DeBacker described the state's relationship with the Education Department as positive overall.
Who cares if these teacher evaluation systems tied to "student achievement" work or not?
Just make sure they're in place by our deadline or we revoke your NCLB waiver and declare all the schools in your state failing.
Barack Obama and Arne Duncan - change in the education system because we said you have to!