NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED543222
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Feb
Pages: 14
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
A Step Forward or a Step Back? State Accountability in the Waiver Era
Hall, Daria
Education Trust
In 2002, No Child Left Behind ushered in sweeping changes in school accountability. Diverging from the federal government's long history of leaving this matter largely to the states, a Congress broadly dissatisfied with the slow pace of educational improvement stepped in with a new framework designed to set schools on a path to getting all students to "grade level" by 2014. Virtually all observers--including critics of the law--applaud the attention NCLB focused on improving the achievement of students who had, for far too long, been poorly served by schools. Over time, however, even the law's staunchest supporters began noting its limitations and negative effects. These flaws could and should have been fixed through a reauthorization. But despite several attempts, Congress couldn't agree on a new version of the law. Frustrated with the legislative gridlock and worried about the damage an outmoded law could do, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan granted waivers from key accountability provisions of NCLB to states willing to undertake certain reforms. The waivers have sparked heated debate. But so far, there's been more heat than light. This is the second phase of the author's ongoing analysis aimed at shedding more light on the waivers. Her analysis compares the waivers with critical elements of a good accountability system and asks: What is the quality of the plans put forward by the states and approved by the U.S. Department of Education? When given an opportunity, what kind of choices did states make? Did their plans preserve a focus on underserved students, while also mitigating the most widely acknowledged problems with NCLB? She hopes that the questions raised in this report--which can be asked and answered in every state granted a waiver--will spark conversation and action among all who believe that, done right, accountability is an important tool in the effort to raise achievement and close gaps. This paper presents five questions that educators, advocates, and policymakers in every waiver state ought to ask about expectations in the accountability system for which their state has been approved. (Contains 10 notes.)
Education Trust. 1250 H Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20005. Tel: 202-293-1217; Fax: 202-293-2605; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: Teachers; Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Education Trust
Identifiers - Location: United States
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001