Press Release

The Education Trust-Midwest’s Statement on President Obama’s No Child Left Behind Waiver Plan

Publication date: Sep 23, 2011

Contact info:
Amber Arellano, Executive Director
aarellano@edtrustmidwest.org
(734)277.5084Donnell Green, Communications Coordinator
dgreen@edtrustmidwest.org
(248)854.5297

ANN ARBOR, MICH. (September 23, 2011) – Today President Barack Obama announced a plan to waive some of the federal accountability provisions of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), presenting an opportunity for Michigan to re-think its educational strategies.

“Our state’s leaders should seize this rare opportunity to do what’s best for Michigan’s students,” said Amber Arellano, executive director of The Education Trust-Midwest, Michigan’s only state-wide education organization that advocates on behalf of students.  “It will require our state leaders to come to the table quickly, and to step up to meet these worthwhile federal requirements that serve all of our children.””

The Obama plan does not prescribe particular interventions for the vast majority of schools.  Instead, it allows states to submit a waiver request that will outline how they would tackle the following challenges:

  • Adopt and implement higher level standards and assessments that aim all of their kids for college and career.
  • Build an accountability system that sets ambitious but achievable goals for their schools and measures progress in increasing overall achievement and closing gaps.
  • Take action to improve their persistently low-performing schools.
  • Develop an honest evaluation system that gives their educators the feedback they need to improve their practice and boost student learning.  The new Governor’s Council on Educator Effectiveness, appointed by Governor Rick Snyder, and its important work will be key to meeting this requirement.

If Michigan’s education officials take the waiver opportunity, President Obama’s approach would help Michigan differentiate between schools that need radical change and those that just need a little help, while keeping our schools’ focus squarely on low-income and minority students who remain woefully behind in student learning.  It would also allow Michigan much more flexibility in its interventions to better support persistently low-performing schools.

“Our students – especially our most vulnerable students – need our state leaders to step up,” Arellano said,“”and take advantage of this chance to improve our schools for all of our children.””

For more information on improving accountability systems see The Education Trust’s new report:  Getting it Right: Crafting Federal Accountability for Higher Student Performance and a Stronger America.

The Education Trust-Midwest’s mission is to work for the high achievement of all students, particularly low-income, African American, Latino and American Indian students in Michigan.  Ed Trust-Midwest is Michigan’s only state-wide policy, research and advocacy organization focused on what is best for Michigan students.  We are a non-partisan, independent watchdog dedicated to providing honest, reliable, research-based information to Michigan families and policymakers.  For more information, go to: www.edtrustmidwest.org

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