Looking forward to better accountability system

Headshot of Commissioner Stephen BowenToday the Department released its annual report on school progress under the No Child Left Behind Act, which showed that a majority of schools aren’t meeting federal targets—just as we anticipated.

We, along with most other states, don’t believe AYP accurately measures school success. Maine schools aren’t doing any worse than last year, but the current AYP system requires schools each year to meet higher testing targets than the previous year, and it doesn’t recognize any degree of improvement unless AYP is met. That’s not fair to our schools, and it’s not fair to our kids.

This is why we’ve spent the last year applying to the U.S. Department of Education for flexibility under NCLB. Our proposed accountability system, which we expect to hear back about shortly, will differ in that it examines student growth over time rather than point-in-time testing.

This year’s AYP report does show that Maine still has work to do, but our new measurement system will support educators in their efforts. With this waiver, we’ve set achievable goals so that teachers and students can feel good about the improvements they’re making.

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