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Parents and Teachers Weigh In on NCLB Waiver

By Annie Gilbertson | Published 14 Dec 2011 10:12am | comments
Photo by Annie Gilbertson

The Mississippi Department of Education is applying for a waiver from  some of the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind law. Even though the decision was made back in October, MPB's Southern Education Desk Reporter, Annie Gilbertson explains stakeholders are still getting a chance to weigh in.

The Mississippi Department of Education has held 14 town hall meetings since deciding to ask for a waiver in October.  And at a meeting in Pearl last night, it asked tough questions.  Questions such as: since waivers require us to evaluate teachers, how do you want to be evaluated?  Shirely Gowens, a sixth grade math teacher, shares her answer.

 Gowens: Classroom management, because I think we need good classroom management in order to educate our children.  For me it’s important to know if I grew my children.  That would include test scores, yes.

Testing came up frequently.  So did concerns about communication between the state office and individual schools. Teachers wanted to make sure new decisions were shared immediately.  Cassandra Wells is a high school English teacher says events like these help teachers and parents from feeling isolated.

 Wells: Because when you are in a classroom, you know what you are supposed to be doing, you have all the background, but you are like, I’m in this by myself.

 Teachers and administrators also brought up concerns about whether the waiver will prevent low-performing schools from getting the same attention they receive now.  Dr. Lynn House, Deputy State Superintendent, said waiver applications are required to outline new intervention plans for low performing schools.  And to do that, she said, her office asked for stakeholders' help.

House: We really didn’t have preconceived notions around the best interventions for schools and for students that are not doing well.  We knew some things that worked, but to find out from the people whom are actually utilizing the interventions is critically important.

The Mississippi Department of Education is accepting input on the waiver applications until mid-January.


From the Southern Education Desk, for MPB News, I'm Annie Gilbertson.

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