State Board of Education votes to end No Child Left Behind in AL - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

State Board of Education votes to end No Child Left Behind in AL

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HOOVER - AL -

 

A new plan is well on it's way to changing the way classrooms function in Alabama. Thursday, the State Board of Education met in Hoover and took a unanimous vote to end "Adequate Yearly Progress" - shifting away and requesting a Federal waiver from the "No Child Left Behind Act."

This will mean two main changes for students and teachers: first, it will throw away the traditional AYP exams at the end of each school year and replace them with periodic assessments. Second, it will give teachers a little extra freedom - outside of a set schedule. It's a plan that's intended to produce college and career ready students.

"It will allow the teacher to look more closely at what is taught in the classroom and line it with their students needs," Dr. Yvette Richardson, State School Board Member said.

"I am really careful to say that No Child Left Behind in its inception was absolutely what was needed, but we are at a place now that we need something different," Dr. Tommy Bice, State Superintendent said.

That new plan takes out the one big AYP test each Spring and replaces it with teaching assessments along the way.

"We know that one test score does not describe what really goes on in education," Dr. Bice said.

Dr. Bice says, the requirement that every child be proficient by 2014 works only if every child is at the same place on the same day. 

"It does not take into consideration children who learn differently, children who learn at different speeds, and especially unfair to children with special needs," Dr. Bice said.

Hoover's Superintendent says he supports this plan - because it meets students at whatever level they're at-- particularly rising high schoolers who may have come from other districts.

"That's a good thing for Hoover because our enrollment continually grows," Andy Craig, Superintendent, Hoover City Schools said. "We get a lot of kids who come at varying levels, at varying grades."

'It puts us in line with other states, however, more specifically for what our children need based on the new assessments that will be put in place," Dr. Richardson said.

State school leaders say, for teachers, the best feature of the 2020 Plan is that they'll have more freedom.

"What I think they will see is their teacher being much more comfortable in having "teachable" moments and going more in depth to critical thinking and problem solving and what kids love to do rather than being so focused on how they perform on a test," Dr. Bice said.

The U.S. Department of Education must approve Alabama's plan and if they give it a green light,  it could take effect as early as 2014.  

 

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