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What Does “No Child Left Behind” Decision Mean for Tri-Cities? Washington?

No Child Left Behind waiver costs Tri City Schools over $1.5 million
No Child Left Behind waiver costs Tri City Schools over $1.5 million (Townsquare media image)

You might be confused by all this No Child Left Behind educational policy.   Here’s what it means, and how it will affect us.

Headlines across the country have been announcing Washington state is the first in the U.S. to lose it’s No Child Left Behind (referred to as NCLB) waiver.   Just what is the program, anyway?  

NCLB was a program signed into law by former President Bush, that demanded 100 percent of students be considered proficient in reading and math (based upon standardized test scores and other methods) by the year 2014.  Many states soon found due to a variety of reasons,  it was going to be very difficult to ensure that all students made the grade.

Numerous states asked for, and received waivers from some of the requirements of the program, PROVIDED they instituted certain policies.  They included tying teacher evaluations to student test scores.  Other waivers were given to avoid double-testing students.    Only eight states didn’t apply for some sort of waiver from the demands.

Washington was one of three states who’s waiver was in jeopardy because we had not instituted linking teacher evaluations to student test scores.  Here’s where it gets interesting.

Democratic legislators in Olympia had proposed a bill that would link teacher evaluations to students scores. This would have satisfied federal requirements and preserved our waiver.  HOWEVER, in what many experts are saying in a bizarre turn of events,  most of these Democratics then helped vote down the bill!

Superintendent Randy Dorn blamed the powerful teacher’s union, the Washington Education Association, for lobbying these legislators to shoot down their own bill.   He claims the union wanted to “protect” it’s teachers from this requirement, and they put their own needs ahead of education.  The WEA is now reportedly trying to petition the White House to over turn the waiver being dropped!

$40 million in school funding will be lost, including $1.5 million in Yakima, other schools from Sunnyside to Mabton will lose (in descending order) anywhere from $776,000 to $120,000.

 In Tri-Cities, Pasco will lose nearly $1 million, Kennewick $678,000, Richland about $300,00. This money will have to be shifted from other programs to help with those that try to bring students to NCLB reading and math levels.

There is still a chance the waiver could be reinstated, if the state is able to pass educational requirements that satisfy federal requirements.

 

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