Anchorage Schools React To ‘No Child Left Behind’ Waiver

Vernon Campbell. Photo from ASD.
Vernon Campbell. Photo from ASD.

Anchorage School District administrators are reacting to the U.S. Department of Education’s announcement that Alaska will receive a waiver from the ‘No Child Left Behind’ (NCLB) law.

Vernon Campbell is Executive Director of Federal Programs for the ASD. He says the district is pleased that the state got the waiver, mainly because, under NCLB, the district had to set aside money to help low-income students, even if they were highly proficient.

The waiver will allow the district the flexibility to concentrate those funds on the academically neediest, not just the poorest.

“There’s more flexibility for the district to utilize, I’m gonna say about 30 percent of its funds in ways that make better sense to the district. Following the previous formula we were required to say tutor students while they were low income they might have been highly proficient but under rule we had to tutor them. Under waiver we’ll have more flexibility of concentrating those funds on students that are the academic neediest,” Campbell said.

He says the district has been implementing changes, working up the waiver, for some time.

“The adoption of common core standards is part of the waiver package. The other thing is the new teacher and principal evaluation system, which will find student achievement being a feature of their evaluation. That’s been around since December of this past year. And so folks need to realize that those are features of the waivers. They’re assurances that the state gave in order to receive the flexibility waivers,” Campbell said.

Campbell says students will still be required to take the Alaska Standards Based Assessment test, but the waiver will eliminate some testing. The waivers go into effect at the beginning the school year next fall.