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NCLB Outrages

How ESEA waiver will affect Title I funding

Note: In case you aren't familiar with Pearson's The FWD.Pearson.com Daily, I'd just note that the last thing I read here was Shilpi Niyogi's recent recommendation that everyone should read Andy Rotherham: Andy Rotherham's column says a lot about What everyone missed on the pineapple question.

As Executive Vice President of Strategy and New Business Development in Pearson's Assessment & Information group, Shilpi Niyogi "assists national leaders in accelerating the transformation of education policies, programs, and practices. For example, Shilpi has been leading the Pearson team designing and delivering the ground-breaking American Diploma Project (ADP) Algebra I and II end-of-course exams for a 15-state consortium led by Achieve."

On her brief piece a reader commented, "...high stakes tests are inappropriate 95% of the time. This is why Pearson isn't an education leader...just a reactionary vendor."

And now we hear from Grace Stopani, who is Grants and Funding Manager for Pearson. This item is categorized by Pearson as "Professional and Clincal Topics."

Here's how Pearson describes itself:
Pearson has one defining goal: to help people progress in their lives through learning. We champion innovation and investment in models for education that provide a connective spine to help us deliver effective, accessible, and personalized learning from early literacy, to college- and career-readiness, to higher and professional education. Through data-informed instruction, imaginative applications for mobile and digital learning, and emerging technologies, we are in the business of helping to ensure that people are "always learning."

Pearson makes the NCLB waiver sound like money in your pocket. Schools will no longer be labeled 'in need of improvement'; teachers will. Schools might possibly get more money. Teachers will be out of a job. Since Pearson gets it tons of money from schools, not from teachers, Pearson considers this a good trade-off.

Vermont applied for a waiver. The US Department of Education tried to bully them into the desired template: no reduction in testing and tie teacher evaluation to student standardized test scores. After three revisions, Vermont finally declared "No more" and the state board of education unanimously voted to withdraw the waiver request.

You can bet that states that received NCLB waivers gave away the store, including the teacher evaluation process. So far, Colorado, Florida,Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Rhode Island have signed on to schools becoming test prep factories and selling pedagogy and teacher professionalism down the river.

by Grace Stopani

If your state has submitted an application for an ESEA waiver, did you know that will affect your Title I funding?

Eleven states have been approved for ESEA waivers. Twenty-six plus D.C. have submitted applications for waivers and are waiting for approval.

Here's a quick overview of how the ESEA waivers will affect Title I:

New school designations. Schools will no longer be identified "in need of improvement." Instead, states will identify “Priority schools” that are the 5% lowest-performing schools in the state. “Focus schools” are the next lowest 10% of schools. High schools with a graduation rate below 60% must be designated as either Priority or Focus schools.

What this means: States and districts will be encouraged to route extra funding to these schools, including both formula and competitive School Improvement funds and the previous Title I set-asides.

Removal of Title I set-asides. Most states applying for waivers are removing the requirement for districts to set-aside 20% of Title I for Supplemental Education Services and 10% for professional development.

What this means: For many school districts, this will feel like an additional 30% of Title I funds. Districts can use these freed-up funds for interventions at Focus and Priority schools. A handful of states will not remove these set-asides, so check your state’s plan first.

Easier to become a schoolwide program. Districts can identify any Priority or Focus school as a schoolwide program, even if they do not have 40% of more of students in poverty.

What this means: If your school is identified as a Priority or Focus school, then you can use Title I funds to offer intervention to all students, instead of just Title I-eligible students.

Flexibility to transfer funds. Districts can transfer up to 100% of funds between federal programs or into Title I.

What this means: This waiver offers flexibility to districts to move funds to meet changing priorities. For example, a school could transfer Title II professional development funds into Title I in order to expand credit recovery efforts.

— Grace Stopani
The FWD.Pearson.com Daily


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