Thursday, September 29, 2011

Education Department Makes Public Peer Reviewer Guidance for NCLB Waivers

We recently highlighted the Department of Education's decision and guidance for state's on waiving certain requirements of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. States, if they choose, would apply for these waivers by submitting a plan that addresses three key principles: implementing state-wide standards, developing differentiated accountability systems, and evaluating teacher/principal effectiveness. As we mentioned, the Department of Education (DOE) will use a peer review process for making decisions on any requests for flexibility on NCLB requirements. DOE has now made public its guidance to the reviewers that will help to evaluate state requests.

As DOE explains, it will use a review process that will include both external peer reviewers and staff reviewers to evaluate requests according to the three principles DOE outlined in the waiver guidance. States will have an opportunity, if necessary, to clarify its plans for peer and staff reviewers and to answer any questions reviewers may have. All feedback from the peer reviewers will then be sent to the DOE Secretary who will make the final decision.

Those planning to work with their state to develop a waiver proposal should look closely at questions and criteria that reviewers will be required to check all waiver requests against. The reviewers' guidance can be found here.

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