Current Prospects for an NCLB Waiver

Search terms indicate that there is interest in whether Iowa is likely to receive an NCLB waiver this year.  The short answer is that it is too soon to tell.  If the Senate passes SF 423 rather than HF 215, we won’t know until the bill comes out of conference committee whether the Iowa Legislature will approve the changes required to obtain the waiver.

Education Week reported last summer that Iowa’s waiver application was “denied after the federal Education Department decided that the state’s education agency did not have the authority to enforce the requirement that teachers and principals be evaluated in part on student outcomes, a key component of the department’s conditional waivers.”

Section 62 of HF 215 would amend Iowa Code Section 284.3(2)(b) teacher evaluations to contain “a balanced use of student outcome measures, comprised of objective, reliable measures of student growth, classroom observation, and student surveys.”  SF 423 does not include this language, nor does it include the performance index/school classification ranking system that is a key component of Iowa’s ESEA Flexibility Request.