Alabama quits No Child Left Behind

Jun 22, 2013 by

Alabama public schools are no longer operating under the Bush-era education reforms known as No Child Left Behind.

State education officials announced today that the U.S. Department of Education has granted the state’s waiver request to be removed from the many requirements of No Child Left Behind.


In its place, the state will follow its own reform program known as PLAN 2020. The comprehensive plan seeks to achieve a 90 percent graduation rate and ensure all graduates are prepared for college or career by the year 2020.


In a statement, State Superintendent of Education Tommy Bice said the original intent of No Child Left Behind was good, but the “all-or-nothing” expectations did not give hard-working schools credit for the growth they achieved.


PLAN 2020, Bice said, will continue to look at the academic progress of all student subgroups, but will go much further to help schools meet their individual needs.


“The waiver from NCLB is just one part of the overall PLAN 2020 approach,” he said. “Ultimately, what will result is a system that uses the college- and career-readiness of its graduates as its capstone measure of success.”

Melinda Maddox, assistant superintendent for research, information and data services, said assessments under PLAN 2020 will better identify weaknesses in education progress than No Child Left Behind’s Adequate Yearly Progress measure.


“We are focused on closing achievement gaps, increasing graduation rates, moving students to proficiency and making sure our graduates are prepared for college and/or a career without remediation,” she said.


According to the White House, 47 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Bureau of Indian Affairs have requested waivers from No Child Left Behind in exchange for state-developed plans to prepare students for college and career and “focus aid on the neediest students and support effective teaching and leadership.”


The U.S. Department of Education has now approved requests from 38 states and the District of Columbia.


States have been able to pursue waivers since September 2011 when the Obama administration announced it would consider waivers due to Congress’ failure to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which was due in 2007.


“Thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia can’t wait any longer for education reform,” said U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. “A strong, bipartisan re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act remains the best path forward, but as these state have demonstrated, our kids can’t wait any longer for Congress to act.”

While the rigid rules of No Child Left Behind have been widely criticized by the education community for forcing educators to teach predominantly from standardized tests, the shift away from the law could interrupt school choice for some students.

No Child Left Behind allows students in impoverished schools that fail to meet adequate yearly progress for two consecutive years the opportunity to transfer to a different school in the same district.

Bice said this week he would consider school transfers for low performing schools identified under PLAN 2020, but school choice is not part of the waiver request approved by the USDE.

Alabama quits No Child Left Behind, adopts new plan to improve graduation rates |

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Related Posts


Share This

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.