The Washington State School Directors’ Association (WSSDA) is asking the U.S. Department of Education (ED) for an exemption to a requirement that would cause almost every school district in Washington to send letters to parents stating that their schools are failing.
ED imposed the “failing” schools letter requirement when it cancelled the state’s waiver exempting it from funding penalties for not meeting the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). Forty-three states and the District of Columbia have been granted such waivers, and none are expected to meet their adequate yearly progress (AYP) requirements under NCLB, but Washington state is the first to have its waiver revoked.
WSSDA says that while districts would be required to send the “failing” schools letters out to parents at least 14 days before the start of school, finalization of the year’s AYP measures for districts will last well into August, and some schools are scheduled to open before the end of the month.
“Many of these schools have been recognized for improved graduation rates, closing achievement gaps, high scores on national tests like the ACT and SAT and other signs of excellence,” said David Iseminger, a Lake Stevens school director and member of the WSSDA Board of Directors. “That 14-day letter does nothing to further any education goals. In fact, it does quite the opposite.”