One of California’s top education officials said the federal No Child Left Behind law is no longer credible or legitimate because too many states have been given a waiver.
“They have already disowned the program in terms of the U.S. Department of Education by the secretary already declaring it null and defunct in effect in 33 states," said Michael Kirst, President of California’s State Board of Education. "I don’t see that it has any credibility or legitimacy left.”
His board sets policy for the most public school chidren of any state in the nation.
President George W. Bush signed the law in 2001, setting 2014 as the year that every student, including those whose first language isn’t English, will be proficient in English and math.
“It’s turned out to be illusory and not attainable by any state,” Krist said.
The Obama administration has been exempting states from the 100 percent proficiency goal and other key provisions — but only if they meet a list of reforms.
A recent federal audit finds that the federal government and California have done a poor job monitoring millions of federal dollars for charter schools.
The US Department of Education's inspector general examined some of the nearly $1 billion in charter school grants to states and individual charter schools between 2008 and 2011. Auditors zeroed in on California, Arizona, and Florida. In this state, they found that the people assigned to inspect charter schools were unqualified and didn't know what was expected of them.
California received $182 million in federal charter school grants during the four-year period. A spokeswoman with the state Department of Education said it's trying to ramp up charter school oversight. Education officials have closed dozens of charter schools in recent years because of low academic performance, cheating on tests, and misappropriation of funds.
In addition to releasing state Academic Performance Index numbers on Thursday, the California Department of Education is also debuting an easy-to-read School Quality Snapshot
It’s a brightly-colored report – full of graphs and pie charts – designed to simplify and aggregate key information about a school in one place.
Deb Sigman, Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction, said the purpose of the snapshot is to gather a set of data that would have previously required parents to visit multiple websites to compile.
She added: “This will be a great tool for schools and districts to use as they communicate to their communities and their staffs about the performance of their schools.”
The focal point of the report is the Academic Performance Index – or API – but the two-page report goes well beyond that.