The Iowa Department of Education is preparing for a series of public meetings on its request for a waiver of the federal “No Child Left Behind Act” education standards. Department deputy director, Kevin Fangman, says the public input is part of the process of completing the waiver request.
He says the waiver request will focus on three different areas. “One will be the state’s process of adopting college and career ready standards and that teachers are ready to teach those to all students, so they can learn at high levels. And then also we’ll have to share about what our thoughts are about a future assessment system that will measure those standards.” The second area in the waiver involves the state support of schools.
“Right now under No Child Left Behind, when we look at accountability, it’s all based on students hitting a certain target for performance,” Fangman explains. “And so one thing we are going to be looking at as a state, is looking at performance we want to see, but also, looking how can we honor growth and the hard work that teachers do with students that are behind and maybe make more than a year’s growth.”
The third area involves the evaluation of educators. “It’s just how we support effective instruction and leadership in our schools. And that deals with what we look at as far as educator and principal evaluation, what goes into that, and also having standards in place that we want to have educators and the leaders in our schools to meet.” The department is also in the midst of enacting a new blueprint to remake the education system in the state.
Fangman says there is a connection between the federal waiver and the new state plan as they made a decision that they really want to align the waiver request with the blueprint for education wherever possible, so there are not two different plans that would go out and cause confusion.
Fangaman says they will have more detailed information on the three waiver issues available when they begin the public meetings. The first meeting is January 31st. To find out more about the process, you can go to the Department of Education’s website at: www.educateiowa.gov.