TEA Waiver Approved and Federal Shutdown

Districts across the state were recently notified that the Department of Education had “conditionally approved’ the waiver request submitted by TEA regarding requirements of the No Child Life Behind Act. Several other states have already had similar waivers approved. Basically, the waiver will mean that Texas schools and districts will no longer be subject to Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and will also not be required to commit federal funds to address not meeting AYP.

In a letter from the Department of Education, it states: “The USDE announced on Monday that Texas has been approved for a waiver from No Child Left Behind (NCLB), in exchange for state-developed plans to prepare all students for college and career, focus aid on the neediest students, and support effective teaching and leadership.”

AYP was designed to ensure that all student groups were meeting achievement goals; however, each year the minimum percent of students passing was increased until it reached 100%. While it is always the goal of EISD to have a 100% pass rate in all tests, it is somewhat less than ideal to think that if 99% of the students met the standard, a school or district would still be rated as not met AYP. Adequate Yearly Progress was a good start, but, as with all things in education, its usefulness needs to be reexamined at the federal level.

Since districts will not be labeled with AYP any longer, districts will not be subject to the requirements that certain funds must be set aside if a district missed AYP. Since EISD had missed AYP last year, there was a requirement EISD had to set aside 20% of our Title I allotment for professional development. EISD had always used Title I and Title II funds for professional development. Usually, this amounted to about 10% collectively of both funds. These professional development activities provided numerous opportunities for our core subject area teachers to receive training through the Region 7 Service Center. Having to add another 10% on top of what we were already spending was taking away from the areas (such as additional teachers) where we could best utilize these funds.

Overall, the waiver is a great benefit for EISD. We will be able to serve our students in a way that best meets their needs.

As for the federal government shutdown, I do not think that we will see a great deal of impact. From what I have read, the federal programs that are utilized most in our district (Title I, Title II, school lunch and breakfast program) are not going to be impacted by the shutdown. The funding for these programs were already in place. There may be some delay in getting funds because of a reduced work force in Washington, but overall, the impact on EISD will be minimal. The only program in which there is some question is the Head Start program. This program may be more vulnerable to a shutdown. We will have to wait and see on this. Our intention is to keep all of our programs operating to serve our students.

A reminder that our Middle School and JV football teams will be hosting Malakoff starting at 5:00 PM. The 7th grade will play first, followed by the 8th grade and then the JV.

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