Pennsylvania’s No Child Left Behind Waiver Request Approved By U.S. Department Of Education


Harrisburg – Governor Tom Corbett today announced that the U.S. Department of Education has approved the state’s No Child Left Behind waiver request that will help make our Pennsylvania’s public schools better for our children and their families.

“This is welcome news for students, parents, taxpayers, educators and public schools across the state,” Corbett said. “This waiver allows Pennsylvania to focus on improving schools by directing resources to areas that help students academically succeed. We now have a better way of guiding improvement efforts in schools by establishing ambitious, yet attainable, goals.”

The approved waiver is designed to improve Pennsylvania education in three areas: making sure all our students are ready for careers or college; developing recognition and accountability standards by the state for all public schools; improving and supporting effective teachers and principals in all our classrooms.

Pennsylvania’s students need to be graduating from high school with high-quality academic credentials regardless of their career path. The state has developed high-quality assessments to make sure students achieve those academic standards.

Recognizing academic achievement and holding public schools accountable are essential to ensuring that taxpayer dollars are being invested in education programs that benefit students. Beginning in the fall, students, parents, taxpayers and educators will have access to user-friendly information that shows academic progress of all public school buildings across the state.

Through the use of the recently developed School Performance Profile, which will provide a comprehensive overview of multiple measures of student achievement, Pennsylvania citizens will be able to determine the quality of the educational programs in their schools and how students are performing.

The new educator evaluation system, signed into law last year by Corbett, will assess educators on multiple measures of student achievement, will provide schools with access to comprehensive resources to improve classroom instruction and provide professional development to teachers, principals and superintendents.

The new evaluation system will be in place for classroom teachers beginning with the 2013-14 school year and for principals and specialists in the 2014-15 school year.

The waiver also abolishes the adequate yearly progress designation for each school building and school district. In its place will be the School Performance Profile that will be used to measure the academic progress of all public schools.

Title I schools, those with a high percentage of low-income students, will receive a federal designation of “Priority,” “Focus” or “Reward” based on four annual measurable objectives:

  • Student participation on the math and reading Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) exams and the algebra I, biology and literature Keystone Exams;
  • Student graduation or attendance rate;
  • Closing the achievement gap of all students – reducing the number of students who score below proficient on the PSSA, Keystone Exams and the Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment (PASA) by 50 percent over a six-year period; and
  • Closing the achievement gap of historically underperforming students – reducing the number of students with disabilities, economically disadvantaged and English language learners who score below proficient on the PSSA, Keystone Exams and the PASA by 50 percent over a six-year period.

Schools designated as “Priority” or “Focus” will have access to intervention and support services from the state Department of Education to assist them in improving student achievement.

Schools that do not fall into a Title I category will receive a School Performance Profiles score rather than a federal designation, but will also have access to all the interventions and supports available

For all public school buildings across the state, the School Performance Profile will provide a building-level academic score, which will be based on multiple indicators of academic achievement, including student performance on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment and Keystone Exams; closing the achievement gap; graduation rate; promotion rate; and attendance rate.

“The U.S. Department of Education has recognized Pennsylvania’s student-centered waiver request that will improve public education across the state,” said acting Secretary of Education William E. Harner. “Under the state’s approved waiver, Pennsylvania citizens will have access to quality information about the performance of our public schools and students will be provided with high-quality educational programs.”

~ News Release via Pennsylvania’s Office of the Governor ~


14 responses to “Pennsylvania’s No Child Left Behind Waiver Request Approved By U.S. Department Of Education

  1. Another state and Republican Governor finally admit the utter failure of the Bush unfunded mandate.

  2. Agenda 21… Common Core Education Curriculum… A ‘Trojan Horse’ for Education Reform
    Submitted by SadInAmerica on Thu, 07/25/2013 – 2:13pm.

    An untried and unvetted fad is being rolled out at all grade levels, in all public schools across the nation, except in Alaska, Texas, Nebraska, and Virginia. The control of mathematics and English language education has been wrested away from state and local school boards and replaced by federal control. Federal testing is scheduled to begin in 2014. ~ Related article – Lecture

    Orlean Koehle’s Common Core examines the events leading to this unprecedented action undertaken by President Obama and the executive branch. Although the “Common Core State Standard Initiative” sounds as if it was developed by states, Common Core (CC) is a “national program, written by a national team.”

    There was no state or national debate, and no Congressional or state legislative approval was given before implementation of CC began. Forty-six state governors thought they were getting a “free lunch” when they volunteered their states as Common Core participants. The governors were enticed with the promise of federal funds for their states.

    States are finding that the CC actually forces them to share a $16 billion price tag split among CC states. An estimate by the California Dept. of Education says Common Core will cost that state $800 million. A CA education research center says it will cost $800 million just for new curriculum, with an additional $785 million to be incurred for teacher and principal training.

    Koehle says the CC attempts to erase inequality between suburban and city school districts with “a massive redistribution of suburban education spending to the cities.” Standards are also dumbed down to achieve equity in performance.

    • I certainly don’t support CC, but I just wonder where all the outrage was when George II laid his unfunded mandate on all of us. He set our educational agenda back 50 years. Corbett and shifting tax dollars to private for profit schools also doesn’t get the outrage of CC. A full 30% of all charter and cyber charter schools in PA are under investigation! There’s no room for a profit margin in “public” education.

  3. “A full 30% of all charter and cyber charter schools in PA are under investigation!”
    First, I would like to see where you got that statistic from. Second, how many public schools are under investigation? Unless the answer to the question is 0%, your statement is meaningless.

    • If my statement is meaningless, why did you take your valuable time to respond? I never said public schools were “free” from corruption, but I seriously don’t think we should be using tax dollars to line the pockets of wealthy private school owners who contribute millions to Corbett so they can rake in millions owning private for profit schools. The money comes from paying teachers less. Take the money from a hundred teachers and give it to one or two owners. What a way to improve education. There are lots of good charter schools and lots and lots of very good public schools, but how many can we really afford? If I’m borrowing money to pay my house mortgage is it a good idea to buy a vacation home? The Philadelphia School District has 165 charter schools that pull money directly out of the public school taxes. The public system is over 300,000,000 in debt and the answer from Nutter and Corbett? Borrow $50,000,000. You could close 50 charters, move the kids and the money back to the public schools and not have to increase the debt. Every time a child moves from any public school to a for profit charter school a portion of every dollar that transfers with them goes directly in the pocket of the owner of that school. Very sad.

      • Just to add my two-cents on this… School Choice is something the wealthy has always had. If they lived in an area with a bad public school, they could easily afford to move or send their children to a private or parochial school. Simple fact is, things like charters, vouchers, and open enrollment give the least among us the opportunities that, in the past, were only available to the wealthy.

        Moreover, charter schools are required to perform to keep the charter that allows them to operate. Bad public schools are allowed to keep their doors open. Schools districts can raise taxes on a whim, while a charter school must live on a fixed budget.

        Of course, taking a public system and turning it private does not mean less cost, higher efficiency, or more effective… take our local water situation. However, competition does. School Choice means, over time, good schools will thrive and bad schools will die.

  4. David,
    I don’t think we should be using tax dollars to line the pockets of wealthy teachers unions and ineffective superintendents. You’ve made your career off the tax payer, so anything you say is jaded to begin with. You may be able to make your boy Ken Knickerbocker get a tickle up his leg when you speak, but it’s people like you that are the problem.

    Charter schools are more efficient and do more with less. You refuse to accept this bit of information because it goes against your narrative.

    LOL, so, you think that Philadelphia should close the 165 charter schools, put all those kids back in the public school system, and THAT will make things better? Try to follow. The Charter schools get approximately 66% of the tax dollars per student. That leaves 34% that the public schools still get and don’t have to provide anything but busing for that student. That also means that the public school doesn’t have to hire more teachers, at a higher rate, to teach the students that are going to the Charter schools.

    How many Catholic school in Philadelphia have closed over the past 10 years? How many of those private school kids are now forced to go to the public schools? Having those private schools was a huge benefit to the public schools because they got those tax dollars and didn’t have to teach those kids. Now there’s less private schools which means more kids in the system, and less “free” taxes to squander.

    What’s sad is how public employees have raped the tax payers over the years. What’s funny is the people against “choice” are usually people that have a lot invested in maintaining the opposite.

    • You don’t have a clue what I did in my career Joey. One thing I will say is you always make me laugh.

      vigodagod commented: “David, I don’t think we should be using tax dollars to line the pockets of wealthy teachers unions and ineffective superintendents. You’ve made your career off the tax payer, so anything you say is jaded to begin with. You may be able to make your boy Ke”

  5. Oh, you’re wrong Mr. Jones. I was well informed of your career from a private email from Mr. Knickerbocker when we were going back and forth on his blog. Apparently he doesn’t like it when people question you, so he feels the need to email them directly and “educate” them.

    Regardless, I apologize for my remarks regarding your career. In my defense, I get annoyed when people selectively pick information to back their agenda and don’t give the whole picture.

    • No problem. Friends do tend to defend their friends, even when it’s not warranted because that’s what friends do. I’m not sure how I offended you, but I do believe there are more private schools in Philly today than there were 10 years ago even given the closing of so many Catholic schools. There are 165 “new” charter schools so I believe there has been a net gain in the past 10 years. I don’t know how to verify that so I’ll stand to be corrected if I’m wrong on that one. The Inquirer had an article Thursday about 6 charter schools being investigated in the month of March alone for misappropriation of tax dollars. I voice my opinion on charters as a counter-balance to the overwhelming rush by some to privatize our schools. Private enterprise is driven by money and getting as much of it as you can. I don’t think that’s the right model for educating our children.
      Let me end by apologizing for calling you Joey. I have no idea who you are, but I’d be happy to meet you any time. We can all make misstatements about others that we don’t know. The best way to avoid that trap is to meet and talk. This way you get to meet the person behind the rhetoric and I’ve always found that to be enlightening. Peace.

  6. Anyway… the new accountability system may be harsher than the previous Adequate Yearly Progress (or AYP), especially since the Keystone tests will be a graduation requirement starting with those entering 9th grade this year. Octorara’s score for reading and math, on the PSSA tests, had a very large percentage not testing proficient. If those scores continue into the Keystone tests for Algebra I and Literature, the District is in serious trouble.

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