Dorn requests relief from Adequate Yearly Progress requirement

State Superintendent Randy Dorn announced that earlier this month his office sent a letter to the Department of Education, asking “if districts could get out of this requirement.”

“I don’t think the letter serves any useful purpose,” Dorn added in a press release from his office.

The requirement Dorn is referencing is one from the No Child Left Behind Act, and one of its metrics, Adequate Yearly Progress. Under the No Child Left Behind Act and the Adequate Yearly Progress requirements, any school that fails to meet yearly progress is required to send out a letter to parents no later than 14 days before the start of the school year, to inform parents of their child’s school’s yearly progress failure.

Dorn’s letter listed four reasons for his request that Washington schools and school districts should not have to abide by the notification letter requirement:

• Nearly every school in Washington state would not meet yearly progress, meaning nearly every school would have to send one of the notification letters.

• The intent of the letter is to give families the choice to meet a school that has met yearly progress. Given that very few Washington schools would do so, Dorn feels “the issue of choice is moot.”

• The only other impact of the letter is punitive, and “will unnecessarily hurt public support of education,” according to the press release.

• Many schools in Washington have been making gains in other areas, such as national testing scores and commitment to early learning; a deluge of yearly progress failure notices would undermine the recognition of those gains, according to Dorn’s office.

“I’ve been an opponent of No Child Left Behind for many years now,” Dorn said. “It’s only hurting our students and our schools now. For the past two years, we haven’t had to worry about [Adequate Yearly Progress]. But because of the failure of the state Legislature and the federal government, we’re back to [Adequate Yearly Progress]. If districts don’t have to send the letters to parents, that’s at least one less burden on them.”

For the 2012 and 2013 school years, Washington state schools received waivers from the federal government for Adequate Yearly Progress requirements. That waiver was revoked earlier this year, when the state Legislature failed to “pass a law that would tie teacher and principal evaluations to student performance on state tests.”


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