State loses out in another round of ESEA waivers


Michigan is not among the latest list of eight states that have been granted ESEA waivers from the U.S. Department of Education. So far, 19 states have received waivers: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Tennessee.
In February, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) submitted a revised waiver request that allows for flexibility around the ESEA 2013-14 timeline. Specifically, the MDE asked for flexibility in areas such as Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) the identification of schools or districts for improvement, Highly Qualified Teacher improvement plans, and the use of School Improvement Grants (SIG).
The original request was reworked after Michigan was cited in four pages off concerns about some of its proposed benchmarks--including the low weight (10 percent) given to graduation rates. It was also noted that the state had not official plan to pilot new systems to evaluate teachers and principals. The Michigan Council on Educator Effectiveness recommended a trial period with $6 million set aside to fund it. MEA and AFT-Michigan support the plan. Gov. Snyder supports the idea, but is only willing to put $4 million behind it.
New to the request is a color-coded rating system based on how well Michigan schools meet academic goals. Each school would be eligible to earn a certain number of points and the percentage of points they earned would be designated with a color--dark green for the highest percentage, lime green, yellow, orange or red for the lowest percentage.
If Michigan is ever granted a waiver, the MDE will implement a new report card that holds schools accountable for performance results and achievement gaps. The waiver will also allow Michigan to replace AYP with a new measure using career- and college-ready standards.