Washington has been among the 43 states that have had waivers to this federal law. Those numbers speak volumes about the No Child Left Behind’s built-in expectation problems when put into actual practice.
Under No Child Left Behind, a school must meet every one of the law’s 37 categories in order to avoid being called “failing.” If a school falls short of the mark on three, two, or even one of those categories, the law designates the school as “failing.” In contrast, under the standard grading system used by most of those schools, achieving 34 out of a possible 37 on a classroom assignment (a success rate above 90 percent) would earn a grade of “A.”
April’s decision from the U.S. Department of Education comes as our state is providing more diverse ways than ever to achieve increases in learning achievement. Although No Child Left Behind defines our state’s schools as “failing,” Washington consistently remains above the national average for fourth-grade math and reading scores, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress Report.