Parents Hope ‘No Child’ Waiver Helps Improve Schools

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WINCHESTER (CBS) – At Lynch Elementary School in Winchester, parents have seen first hand the impact of No Child Left Behind: The school has been labeled as failing for several years.

Charlie Mancotty says her two children have struggled with the tests. She says, “When I watch parents who get so upset that there are kids failing the tests and wondering what does that mean about the school, believing it is not a good school, it’s really hard. I don’t think it’s fair. I don’t think it’s descriptive.”

Now she says she is welcoming news that No Child Left Behind is no longer in Massachusetts.

The Executive Director of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents Tom Scott says the decade old federal rules are unattainable and need to be updated. “They are not going to walk away from accountability,” he says.

Scott says a study showed that 90% of the schools and school districts in Massachusetts would not make the No Child Left Behind goals by 2014. This is despite the fact that the state is ranked #1 in the nation in student performance.

The time line for the new system is to cut the proficiency gap in half in the next four years.

But critics say this is gutting the state’s school accountability system. “The state’s loss of urgency has meant that on state MCAS tests, early grade scores have been flat or gone down the past few years. On national assessments, we are no longer among the fastest improving states. Rather, we have shown no improvement on national assessments since 2008,” says Jim Stergos of the Pioneer Institute. “2014 was the year no child was to be left behind. Now it’s maybe 2017, and more likely 2024. Today’s kindergartner will be long gone by then.”

Scott says the goals are strong. “We have new targets, we haven’t abolished targets, we’re not abdicating and abolishing anything. We are simply changing the way it’s going to be done.”

Also seen in CBS Boston.