On June 29, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education granted the Commonwealth of Virginia a waiver from the arbitrary and unrealistic requirements of No Child Left Behind. You can read the press release from the Virginia Department of Education here.
For the last four years, I have been concerned that the arbitrary passing rates required by No Child Left Behind were not realistically attainable and that our schools would hit a “brick wall” causing them to be unfairly labeled as failing. What this waiver does is allow us to focus on improvement based on where our schools are now, rather than some arbitrary number.
Nobody should see this as our schools being held less accountable. We will continue to push for improvement and to close achievement gaps. What this waiver does is allow us to direct our resources to schools most needing improvement, and it allow all schools to focus on student achievement without being bogged down by many of the unfair and ineffective provisions of No Child Left Behind.
I look forward to seeing what additional flexibility we will have in Virginia Beach to continue our goal of ensuring that every student is prepared to be 21st Century learners and workers now that we are able to focus our resources in a more effective way due to this waiver.