Teacher evaluations without student test scores cost Washington waiver from school sanctions

BY Kyla Calvert  April 24, 2014 at 4:38 PM EST

Washington is the first state to lose its waiver from the No Child Left Behind requirement.

Washington was among the 43 states and the District of Columbia that the Department of Education freed since 2011 from sanctions placed on schools and districts that fail to meet the law’s timeline for improving student test scores.

In a statement released online, Gov. Jay Inslee said the loss of the waiver was “disappointing but not unexpected.”

To get one of the federal waivers, states had to submit plans that included adopting curriculum standards geared toward college and career readiness, developing teacher evaluation systems that incorporated student testing data and tracking and narrowing achievement gaps between groups of students. Washington’s waiver application included a plan to tie teacher evaluations to student scores on state standardized tests. But, Seattle’s KPLU explains , a bill to do just that failed to pass in the state legislature this year before the deadline to have Washington’s waiver renewed.

Without the waiver the state will have to use $40 million in federal education funding for the types of school fixes that the original No Child Left Behind law prescribes for schools that miss test score targets. The target, set by law for the 2014-15 school year, is 100 percent proficiency on math and English exams for all students. That — some call it unreachable — target is one reason the Department of Education began granting waivers from the law. It was up for reauthorization in 2007, but has yet to be rewritten.

According to Education Week, Arizona, Kansas and Oregon have been notified that they’re at “high-risk” of losing their waivers over similar teacher evaluation issues.