With Washington state losing its “No Child Left Behind” waiver, most schools in the state will be considered failing by federal standards. That includes Issaquah.
However, Issaquah School District Superintendent Ron Thiele said the impact locally won’t be much and the designation still can be lifted.
“It’s very confusing right now, because OSPI (the office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction) is still negotiating with the feds,” Thiele said. “There are so many unanswered questions. Do schools go back to where they were four years ago? I don’t know.”
He said he heard that 289 out of 295 districts in the state will be considered failing.
The federal No Child Left Behind act requires all children to pass state math and reading tests this year. The state lost its waiver because it didn’t mandate the use of student scores on statewide tests be used as part of teacher evaluations.
“Even the administration knew this was an unworkable law,” Thiele added. “It stems from Congress not re-authorizing the ESEA (Elementary Secondary Education Act), which became law in 1964.”
Thiele said how the loss of waiver will be implemented is the question. Districts will lose control over how they spend their share of $40 million in federal money, which is to be used to improve student’s math and reading scores. He added that the biggest impact to Issaquah will be the transportation set-aside, which is 20 percent of Title I funds it receives, or about $100,000.
“This is not a huge impact to the ISD because we don’t get that much Title I money, because we’re such a low poverty district,” Thiele said. “How many in our community believe we’re a failing district? Go talk to Realtors. People pay a premium to be in the ISD.”