Annual Measurable Objectives
By Amanda Cooper
I wanted to brief all of our members about the work that has been going on at the DoE this summer regarding the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), (more recently referred to and known as NCLB) Waiver application. The DoE has had three separate workgroups preparing proposals for waivers or restructuring to various parts of the federal legislation.
The Annual Measurable Objectives (AMO) workgroup was charged with proposing a new structure to the component of NCLB that requires 95-100% of all students to be performing on grade level in reading and math by 2014. The AMO workgroup has developed a proposal that, if accepted would allow the state to implement a more reasonable approach to measuring a school’s annual growth in the areas of reading and math. The workgroup proposed a “Growth Model” by which each school must move 50% of its population not meeting standards to proficiency in both reading and math within a six year time frame. The logic behind this approach is to make sure that schools who are really struggling get the funding and support they need to help their students succeed, and that the schools who are making progress are not unfairly or continually labeled as “failing” schools.
Lots of issues were examined by the workgroup to make sure that we were proposing a more equitable tool for measuring a school’s adequate yearly progress. The workgroup was wholly committed to developing a measurement process that recognized each school’s unique learning potential and honored the hard work of educators and students in a school to improve their performance over time. Despite having to develop a proposal that had lots of non-negotiable components to it, I can honestly say that I think the AMO workgroup did all that they could to develop a proposal that is in the best interest of schools in the state, and more closely aligns with the historical intent of ESEA.