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News Release - Hammond Joins President in Announcing NCLB Waivers

Sept. 23, 2011

News Release

Colorado’s Education Commissioner joins President in announcing waivers to NCLB law today

Colorado Education Commissioner Robert Hammond today joined President Obama at the White House as he announced details of the Administration’s waiver package to the No Child Left Behind Law. Hammond was selected to participate when the White House invited education chiefs from some of the nation’s leading reform states.

“I hope this event will help frame the call for state waiver requests more as a way to strengthen state and local accountability rather than to merely provide ‘relief’ from NCLB,” Hammond said.

Through Hammond, the state department of education will request waivers because significant NCLB provisions have now become outdated and the constraints of the law prevent many from moving innovative strategies for improvement forward. Colorado’s own accountability system is thought to be stronger and more robust than the older national system. For example,

  • The Colorado Growth Model which focuses on student’s academic growth over time strengthens Coloradoans’ ability to gauge students’ progress toward proficiency. In fact, the Colorado-developed model of student growth is now being used by 14 other states.
  • Enactment of CAP4K has resulted in leaner, clearer standards and a more comprehensive assessment system focused on college and career readiness.
  • Enactment of the state’s Educator Effectiveness system will help ensure that every school building has a strong leader and every classroom has an effective teacher.

Waivers sought by the department of education will end the state’s use of two different education accountability systems which has often created confusion because each measures different things and can result in very different labels for schools.

“With waivers in place, Colorado’s accountability system will be more rigorous than the old federal system,” Hammond said. “It will also provide more support for individual schools and for students needing the most intervention.”

Shifting focus of the accountability system will expand choice options for students in struggling schools and streamline the accountability system. Also, there will be a reduction of administrative costs and burdens for schools, districts and the state.

The Colorado Department of Education anticipates its waiver application will be sent to the U.S. Department of Education in November and anticipates notification of approval status in January 2012.

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