West Virginia will not have to do what every other state is doing to address struggling schools if the Mountain State is granted a flexibility request when it comes to the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act.
“I really believe that we’re probably within a day or two of getting that signed off and that West Virginia will have its own system,” state Board of Education President Wade Linger said on Wednesday’s MetroNews Talkline.
The state Board first applied with the U.S. Department of Education for the waiver last September in an attempt to free the state’s public schools from certain federal rules and deadlines under No Child Left Behind.
Revisions have now been made to West Virginia’s Educator Evaluation System and submitted as an answer to federal reviewers who are considering that application.
Approval for the waiver would clear the way for West Virginia to address underperforming schools.
Linger says the federal regulations allow for no gray area, even if schools are showing signs of progress. “With No Child Left Behind, either you’re a good school or a bad school. It’s on or off,” he said.
“We’re facing a situation where virtually all of our schools will be labeled as a ‘bad’ school and all the bad things that go along with that.”
Linger says West Virginia’s leaders know what is best for the state’s students and that is the message for federal officials. “We still want accountability. We still want to make sure that you guys have a way of measuring the students and the progress and all of that,” he said.
“Every state had the opportunity to go in and make their own plan and convince the feds that we’re not going to do it your way anymore, but we do have a way and it will work.”