CONTACT:  Michele Clark
Communications Coordinator

Vol. 46, No. 12
February 16, 2012


Department Provides Comparison of Missouri Accountability Plan to No Child Left Behind Act


The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has released an updated comparison of Missouri's education accountability plan and waiver request and the accountability requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

The comparison also includes guidelines from the U.S. Department of Education for states applying for a waiver, which would allow them to use their own accountability plan in place of some No Child Left Behind requirements.

The State Board of Education will decide February 21 if Missouri will submit an application to the U.S. Department of Education for a waiver.  The application deadline is February 28.

For the past three years, the Department has worked with educators and officials throughout the state on the latest revision of Missouri’s accountability system, the Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP). Through an extensive public engagement process, the Department has developed an accountability system that meets, and in many areas exceeds, the federal guidelines, state education officials said. The waiver request will include portions of the MSIP accountability system necessary to meet federal guidelines that take effect this year.  The more comprehensive MSIP accountability measures will go into effect for the 2013-14 school year.

“We greatly appreciate the feedback we’ve received from school board members, superintendents, principals, teachers, parents and others about Missouri's plan," said Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro.  "Our work has produced an accountability system for our state that reflects the strong foundation of the Missouri School Improvement Program over the past two decades while raising the bar to reflect the realities of 21st century global competition."

“This waiver will bring about desperately needed relief for schools and districts from the unreasonable and flawed expectations of No Child Left Behind,” said Dr. Don Senti, executive director of Cooperating School Districts in the Greater St. Louis Area.  “Districts will be able to use the funds they have to implement locally designed improvement strategies.  The waiver restores a measure of local control and rational accountability that doesn’t exist under No Child Left Behind.  After complaining about NCLB for over 10 years, school officials finally have an accountability plan they can support.”

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education approved waivers for 10 states that applied during the first round of the application process.  Twenty-eight other states, including Missouri, have indicated their intent to seek a waiver during the second round of the process.

Waivers approved in the first and second rounds could go into effect as early as the 2012-13 school year.

"The waiver would give Missouri and its local school districts more control in setting high academic standards and helping students achieve those standards," said Dr. Chris Belcher, superintendent of the Columbia Public Schools.  "Instead of being held to mandates of the past, we can move forward with more effective accountability measures that ultimately will improve our schools."

View the comparison of Missouri's waiver request and the No Child Left Behind requirements.  A copy of the current draft of Missouri’s waiver request can be viewed on the ESEA Flexibility Waiver web page.  Revisions are still under way, and suggestions are being accepted by the Department.