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Georgia granted waiver from No Child Left Behind Act

The U.S. Department of Education has approved Georgia’s request for a waiver from the strict mandates of the No Child Left Act, according to State School Superintendent John Barge.

“This is wonderful news for Georgia’s students, educators, and parents,” said Barge, recently. “No longer will we be bound by the narrow definitions of success found in No Child Left Behind.” He added that teachers will now be held accountable, and rewarded, for the work they do in all subjects and with all students.

“This waiver will give Georgia the flexibility we need to pursue our goals of student achievement,” added Gov. Nathan Deal. “We appreciate the cooperation of federal officials as we seek to prepare young Georgians for higher education and the jobs of tomorrow.”

According to Matt Cardoza, spokesperson for the Georgia Department of Education, the waiver will allow the state to begin using the Georgia College Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) to measure the effectiveness of schools and school districts in the state.

School officials say the content and requirements of the “index” will vary, based on grade levels, but it will measure the extent to which a school district, and the state, are successfully making progress on several accountability indicators. Those indicators include: Content mastery, student attendance, and readiness for the next level of preparation.

“Through [the] Georgia Career Ready Performance Index, we will be able to use multiple indicators to determine a school’s overall impact on our students,” said Barge, in a previous statement. He added that this approach will ensure that all students are provided with the necessary academic tools to compete globally, as well as to develop the career skills required in the working world.

The index –– according to state officials –– represents more than 18 months of work dedicated to ensuring rigorous statewide accountability, and will provide more insight into a school’s improvement, and a student’s individual progress, than current Adequate Yearly Progress calculations, under No Child Left Behind.

Some of the highlights from the waiver are:

• All the state to use all core content areas (state assessments) in the identification of Priority, Focus, and Alert Schools;

• Set Performance Targets to replace the Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs) under AYP;

• Exercise greater flexibility with federal funding;

• Authorize districts to provide Flexible Learning Programs (FLPs) in place of Supplemental Education Services (SES) providers;

• Follow state law relative to school choice;

• Implement CCRPI as Georgia’s state accountability system during 2012-2013.

Cardoza said Georgia is among 10 states to receive a federal waiver from the No Child Left Behind Act.