Governor Bill Haslam signed off Thursday on changes to Tennessee’s education standards under a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind law. WPLN’s Daniel Potter reports on how the state is replacing the federal rule.
Many Tennessee schools would’ve failed under the federal benchmarks, unless they made double-digit gains in math and reading each year. Instead, the state will now require a more realistic 3 to 5 percent improvement.
Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman says the changes were badly needed, because the old system was labeling hundreds of schools ‘failing’ even as many got better.
“So something was wrong with the picture. We’d created a world in which more than a thousand schools headed into this year knowing that almost no matter how much they improved this year they were likely to fail AYP. That doesn’t do honor or service to the people working in those buildings.”
With the federal AYP, or adequate yearly progress, gone, Tennessee now promises to set goals that are doable, but still demanding.
In signing the overhaul into law, Governor Haslam also announced some 37 million dollars in federal grants to help turn around schools ranked in the bottom 5 percent. Those schools are mostly in Nashville and Memphis.