The U.S. Department of Education has granted Iowa’s request for a one-year freeze on the standards imposed by the No Child Left Behind law. The state Education Department requested the one-year freeze on the federal regulations last week after failing to gain a permanent waiver of the rules.
A spokeswoman for the department, Staci Hupp, says this move is just one step in a larger battle over education in the state. “This is a temporary measure while we continue to seek permanent relief from No Child Left Behind’s unrealistic accountability measures,” Hupp says.
If the freeze had not been granted, 87% of all students in third through eighth and 11th grade would have been expected to have meet grade-level standards in reading and math. The target for most Iowa schools will stay around 80% of students performing at grade level.
Education Department director Jason Glass and Governor Terry Branstad blamed the legislature for failing to pass an educator evaluation system as the reason the state did not received a permanent waiver from the federal standards. The legislature is studying the evaluation system to make a recommendation for the next session.
Hupp says it’s good news to get more time to work on the issue. “Although it’s a temporary measure that doesn’t really address the root of the problem. Director Glass believes that as a nation significant changes to the No Child Left Behind law must become a priority,” Hupp says.
The Department of Education is in the process of yearly progress reports, and officials say they do not yet know how many schools the freeze will affect. Federal officials indicated Iowa would not get another freeze year if it fails to come up with the changes required for a permanent waiver.