Missouri elementary and secondary schools will now have more flexibility from the federal No Child Left Behind requirements. More control is back in the hands of the state after the US Department of Education announced Missouri as one of five states granted a waiver Friday.
The No Child Left Behind waiver means the state will be able to set its own standards in evaluating struggling schools while still receiving federal funding. This decision comes after Missouri schools continually fell short of meeting federal goals. Missouri Department of Education spokesperson Sarah Potter says the blame can’t all fall on the state.
“Well it’s not Missouri in particular. A lot of states had problems with No Child Let Behind. What NCLB did was over identify struggling schools. And so it made it really hard to focus on what schools needed extra help. In Missouri, when you have 83 percent of schools not meeting their adequate yearly performance, that doesn’t really mean a lot after awhile," said Potter.
Potter says under the new plan Missouri hopes to be able to better allocate resources to struggling schools. Potter also says teachers and parents will get a better idea of how their schools are performing from the state.
The Missouri Department of Education aims to rank in the top ten in national educational by the year 20-20 by emphasizing student readiness for college and the work force. Missouri currently ranks 47th in K-12 education performance according to an American Legislative Exchange Council study done in 2011. A total of 24 states have now received waivers from NCLB requirements.