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Washington Test Scores Steady, But Rule Changes Hurting Schools

Washington state test scores released
Washington state test scores released (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Washington State School Superintendent Randy Dorn calls the new federal standards “crazy.”

According to the Olympian newspaper, Dorn released the latest test results for Washington schools Thursday.  While the test scores remain steady and some have even improved over the last two years,  federal standards show many schools are failing.

According to the Olympian:

“Washington had a two-year reprieve from some requirements of the federal education law known as No Child Left Behind and then in April the federal government took away the waiver and forced Washington to go back to the old system. More than 1,900 schools out of about 2,200 in Washington were labeled as failing in 2014 because of the No Child Left Behind system.

The biggest changes on Washington test scores this year were a drop of 5.9 percent in the number of 7th graders who passed the math exam and an increase of 5.4 percent in the number of 8th graders who met the reading standard.” (Bold lettering added for emphasis).


The reason the waiver was lost was because the legislature was pressured by the WEA (teachers union) into rejecting a compromise bill that would have included student achievement as part of it’s teacher evaluations.  Education Secretary Arnie Duncan has said if Washington will agree to that, and some other compromises,  it will ‘get back’ it’s waiver from the No Child Left Behind standards.

Dorn and even Governor Inslee had supported the compromise bill, but when it failed,  federal officials dropped our state waiver, costing about $40 million in education funding.  It also abruptly changed the rules, as seen in the previous quote from the Olympian.   Dorn has said the federal No Child universal standards are extremely difficult to obtain statewide because many districts differ in their student breakdowns.

He and many educators agree it’s impossible to expect every school district in America to excell or progress at the same rate.

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