02/13/12  An announcement at the Federal level on Thursday exempting Indiana schools, along with those in nine other states, from some parts of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) prompted an immediate response from Tony Bennett, state superintendent of Pubic Instruction. Bennett said, “Indiana will take advantage of the flexibility we have been granted with this waiver by continuing to pursue policies that produce better academic outcomes for our children.”

Indiana’s A-F grading rules for schools were among the top reasons for the approval from the U.S. Department of Education on some of the NCLB requirements. The grading system that was revised and approved on Wednesday by the Indiana DOE had been included in a request for the waiver. The A-F grading system ranks individual schools and school corporations as a whole in a number of categories including graduation rates and the passing of standardized test scores. Indiana has now added “college and career” readiness measures to the state test results when compiling a final grade for a school.

Basically, Indiana has been released from the “Adequate Yearly Progress” (AYP) requirement and a further consideration that all students be proficient in English and math by the year 2014.

AYP was originally designed to focus on particular groups of students that often are at risk for failure, such as minorities, those in English as a Second Language classes, and those from families qualifying for free and reduced meals. School corporations had attacked the AYP rules saying the amount of time in took to track subgroups.

All throughout Indiana, a school not attaining AYP could only be rated as a C school, even if scores in other areas improved.

Indiana had filed for the waiver in November of last year.  Other states receiving a waiver include Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.  No child Left Behind was initiated by President George W. bush.

President Barrack Obama shared his thoughts on the goals of NCLB saying, ““The goals of No Child Left Behind were the right ones.  Standards and accountability — those are the right goals. Closing the achievement gap, that’s a good goal. That’s the right goal.  We’ve got to stay focused on those goals. But we’ve got to do it in a way that doesn’t force teachers to teach to the test, or encourage schools to lower their standards to avoid being labeled as failures. That doesn’t help anybody. It certainly doesn’t help our children in the classroom.”