The state of West Virginia can now use its own accountability measures to identify and assist troubled schools in the state.

The West Virginia Board of Education received the stamp of approval from the U.S. Department of Education this week on a proposal seeking flexibility under the No Child Left Behind Act.

“This means the federally mandated one size fits all approach to academic success will no longer hinder our school’s performance and our student achievement,” said Governor Earl Ray Tomblin.

Governor Tomblin along with state Board of Education President Wade Linger and state superintendent Jim Phares announced the good news Monday at the State Capitol.

The waiver frees the states public schools and allows them to focus on achievement and improvement so that all students can be prepared for college and career success.

“Our administrators and our teachers will decrease their time invested in federally required paperwork and instead they will invest their time, energy and efforts into what they do best, teaching our children the skills and knowledge they need for a bright future,” said Tomblin.

The request also establishes a high-quality accountability system that values individual student academic growth and supports schools as well as expands the Educator Evaluation System which provides more effective teacher and principal evaluations.

State superintendent Jim Phares said it is key that teachers and principals self-evaluate themselves.

“That’s one of the things that stimulates more growth if you look at any type of human development for any type of growth model concept, that piece of reflecting on where you are and as to where you need to be is absolutely critical,” said Phares.

In addition to focusing on student achievement as well as making sure teachers and principals are operating at their best, the request also creates a simpler way of identifying troubled schools.

“The West Virginia Department of Education will develop an annual performance report that provides a more complete and comprehensive picture of where a school district or a school is meeting performance expectations and where it’s not,” said Phares.

Proposed in the flexibility waiver is the new West Virginia Accountability Index (WVAI) which categorizes schools into five rankings: Priority, support, focus, transition and success. Schools that are targeted will get further assistance.

“Resources will be used more efficiently to support struggling schools and schools will have more flexibility in using federal funds for improvement,” said Phares.

The WVAI is intended to provide parents with an easier to understand and more accurate report on the success of their child’s school.

Phares said this diagnostic review has a good proven track record.

Already, the state board of education has identified 32 low performing schools across the state as priority schools making them eligible for extra funds and resources.

Phares said he sees great changes coming in the states education system.

“It is clear West Virginia is well on its way in making significant education gains in student achievement,” said Phares.

The waiver goes into effect immediately for the 2013-2014 school year.

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  • JimJim

    George Bush's record, No Child Left Behind, and two unneeded/unfunded wars. What a guy?

  • JimJim

    George Bush's "No Child Left Behind" doesn't work. It's good that WV got out. More states will be out soon. "No Child Left Behind" has been place for 10 years, do you see schools getting better? NO.

  • Gerald

    Well i'snt that just wonderful. Separate yourself from the evaluation program that is making you look bad, then develop a system for "self evaluation". Anybody with any management experience knows that self evaluation is a major failure. Peer review including review by those above you and those below you is the only accurate way to measure performance. Now we will continue to set standards that are easy to meet and we will continue to fall behind the rest of the country. Way to protect those teachers and administrators.

    • Patty

      It is time to protect teachers. They give so much of themselves and get little in return. We are falling behind other countries because education isn't valued here. Parents don't teach their kids respect and make them respect their teachers or any adults for that matter. Kids do what they want and when they want with their parents approval. We are undermined daily. We are falling behind because there is no work ethic either. Parents collect that check monthly for doing nothing, so why should their kids work. Stop blaming the teachers, the problem is the kids and their parents and until the government figures that out we will continue to fail.

  • MrJ

    In multi-syllabic Ineptocratese it means: nothing has changed.

    • Joe


  • Joe

    “That’s one of the things that stimulates more growth if you look at any type of human development for any type of growth model concept, that piece of reflecting on where you are and as to where you need to be is absolutely critical,” said Phares.

    Uh....I have no idea what that means.