Barresi touts NCLB reauthorization, applauds NCLB waiver, lists major reforms

In a press release from the Oklahoma Department of Education, Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi on Thursday (February 9) welcomed the Obama administration’s grant of a waiver to Oklahoma from requirements of the “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB) legislation enacted in the 1990s.

Superintendent Barresi said she intends to support a bill introduced in Congress by U.S. John Kline of Minnesota, chairman of the U.S. House Education and Workforce Committee to reauthorize NCLB. Kline, a Republican, is sponsor of legislation to reauthorize the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Barresi said she supports reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) act, and looks forward to its reauthorization. However, she added, “we hope that Oklahoma’s model serves to support schools with more flexibility to enact reforms.” Barresi said that implementation of the Obama administration’s waiver from NCLB requirements will rely on several major reforms.

She listed those as:

An Effective Teacher in Every Classroom, An Effective Leader in Every School 

Under Oklahoma’s Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Evaluation system, approved recently by the State Board of Education, districts can choose among several options approved by the state. At the end of the first pilot year, the state will evaluate the effectiveness of each system and gather critical feedback from teachers and principals as they utilize the system in their individual schools. “These systems will help us recognize the state’s best teachers and identify those who need more help,” Barresi said. “Our goal is to have an effective teacher in every classroom and an effective administrator in every school.”
Rewarding success and fostering improvement

Under the proposal, the state will identify Reward schools, the highest performing of all schools in the state, giving those schools credit for innovative practices and models as well as improvement. At the same time, the state will work to boost student achievement in lower-performing schools. This will include identifying Priority Schools, the lowest-performing 5 percent of schools, based on proficiency and lack of progress in the “all students” group. These schools will have to prove they have the capacity to improve and could also be the subject of significant state management assistance. The plan also includes a focus on Targeted Intervention Schools, the bottom 25 percent of the state in achievement, and Focus Schools, those with poor performance in one or more specific student sub-groups.
3rd Grade Graduation

The state will continue working to implement new third-grade graduation requirements, focusing on assisting teachers in the use of optimal strategies to help children learn to read. Under the new law, students who aren’t reading on grade level won’t be promoted to the 4th grade beginning in the 2013-14 school year.
A-F Performance Grades for Schools

This year, Oklahoma will put into place a new A through F grading system for every school in the state.  The new system will help parents and community members better understand how their school is performing by assigning a clear-cut letter grade.