State to hear today on No Child Left Behind waiver

Connecticut will find out today whether the Malloy administration’s bid for a waiver from the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind law has been granted.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan will host a conference call on the waivers this afternoon, but Duncan also is scheduled to appear at the state Capitol with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to “make an announcement.”

State officials are not commenting whether the state’s application for a waiver will be granted, but chances are slim that Duncan is appearing with Malloy to give bad news.

Without a waiver, Connecticut schools could face a list of repercussions if 100 percent of their students are not proficient in reading and math in three school years. Almost half of the schools in the state this year failed to reach the NCLB benchmarks.

Included in the state’s initial waiver application is an explanation of how the state will identify the lowest-performing schools and what models could be implemented to improve these schools. It does not mention how that impacts existing union contracts.

A lengthy explanation of the new evaluation system, and how it was developed, was also incldued. It does not include how large a role standardized tests will play, a point of consternation for the group developing the teachers’ evaluations.

Many components of the education overhaul, signed into law earlier this month, are also included in the waiver.