Alabama's 2020 Plan for Education Accepted by Feds
By WKRG Staff
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -
On Friday, June 21, the United States Department of Education granted Alabama's waiver request to be removed from many of the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and instead use the Alabama-specific PLAN 2020 as the state's method of measuring public school achievement. As many as 46 states have submitted waivers to the USDE that would excuse them from operating under many outdated requirements of NCLB. Waiver requests in 37 other states have already been approved.
Dr. Tommy Bice, State Superintendent of Education, said the original intent of NCLB was a good place to start, however, the rigid "all-or-nothing" expectations of NCLB's Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) did not give hard-working schools credit for the growth they experienced. Bice said PLAN 2020 continues to look at the academic progress of all student subgroups, but goes much farther to help schools meet their individual needs.
"PLAN 2020 is a rigorous and comprehensive Alabama-developed plan designed to improve educational outcomes for all students, close achievement gaps, increase equity, and improve the quality of instruction," Bice said. "The waiver from NCLB is just one part of the overall PLAN 2020 approach. Ultimately, what will result is a system that uses the college- and career-readiness of its graduates as its capstone measure of success."
Dr. Melinda Maddox, Assistant State Superintendent of Education for Research, Information, and Data Services, said the portion of PLAN 2020 that measures student performance is far more informative than AYP was in terms of truly identifying weaknesses in educational progress, addressing specific needs, and recognizing the areas in which schools and students are truly progressing. Maddox said, "We are focused on closing achievement gaps, increasing graduation rates, moving students to proficiency, and making sure our graduates are prepared for college and/or a career without remediation. We now have a plan for our state to guide us to this new goal."