Author: Klotz, Mary Beth
Date published: January 1, 2012
Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Waivers
While more than 40 states have expressed their intent to apply for the ESEA flexibility waiver, 11 states actually filed applications as of the first deadline in November. Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Tennessee have submitted waiver applications requesting relief from certain provisions of the ESEA (known as No Child Left Behind). There will be additional filing deadlines this year, one in mid-February and one later in the spring. States filing must provide local plans to implement college and career ready standards, develop rigorous accountability systems that include a focus on low-performing schools and schools with persistent achievement gaps, and create comprehensive evaluation systems for principals and teachers. Controversial parts of the flexibility plan have been the requirement to include data on student growth as a significant factor in teacher evaluation plans, and the changes in accountability systems allowing states to focus their most intensive interventions on their lowest performing schools with the widest achievement gaps, rather than on schools that do not make adequate yearly progress (AYP).
States approved for the waivers would be granted flexibility regarding: the 2014 deadline that all students to be proficient in reading and math, the requirement that schools be labeled as failing for not making all of their AYP targets, the types of interventions utilized to improve schools, and use of Title I funds.
For more information:
U.S. Department of Education, ESEA Flexibility (http://www.ed.gov/esea/ flexibility)
Center on Education Policy, NCLB/ ESEA Waiver Watch (http://www.cep-dc .org/page.cfm?FloatingPageID=2i)
Alignment Between the ESEA and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
A new report by the Congressional Research Service highlights issues pertaining to alignment and misalignment among ESEA and IDEA and the provisions within these areas, describes how statutory and regulatory language has attempted to clarify these issues, and addresses specific topics that Congress may want to clarify in the current reauthorization of ESEA. The report does not address potential changes due to the recent release of ESEAflexibility waivers since it is not known at this time how the waivers will eventually affect interactions between ESEA and IDEA.
Four broadpolicy issues are addressed within both the ESEA and IDEA that potentially create differing expectations or requirements for educating students with disabilities. Recommendations to improve alignment are also offered. The policy issues addressed in this report are:
Standards. Under ESEA, students with disabilities are taught to state academic standards that apply to all children. Under IDEA, academic goals are established for each child via an IEP.
Assessments. Under ESEA, students with disabilities participate in annual assessments that determine adequate yearly progress on state standards, while under IDEA students are assessed for identification purposes and for monitoring progress on IEP goals.
Accountability. The students with disabilities subgroup is expected to make adequate yearly progress under ESEA accountability systems, while IDEA monitoring systems measure whether states are meeting compliance and performance indicators.
Teachers. Both ESEA and IDEA have requirements regarding "highly qualified" teachers. Because students with disabilities spend the majority of their time in the general education classroom, they are affected by both definitions.
Download the summary and complete report from: http://www.copaa.org/ wp-content/uploads/2011/ii/CRS-ESEAIDEA-Alignment-Oct-31-2011.pdf.
In Court: Disproportionality Alone Fails to Prove Racial Discrimination
Data indicating that a Pennsylvania district disproportionately identified African American students for special education services was not enough to establish race discrimination. Concluding that the students failed to prove violations of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act or Section 1983 of Title 42 of the United States Code, the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted judgment for the district on both claims. Blunt v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist, 111 LRP 67652 (E.D. Pa. 10/20/11). [Source for In Court: Special Education Connection, LRP Publications, 2011]
Related NASP Resource:
Disproportionality in Special Education - a series of Communiqué articles (http:// www.nasponline.org/resources/culturalcompetence/disproportionality.aspx)
Mary Beth Klotz, PhD, NCSP, is NASP Director, IDEA Projects and Technical Assistance.