Georgia schools Superintendent John Barge submitted an application Monday for a waiver to portions of the federal No Child Left Behind law.
Barge, along with Sen. Johnny Isakson, requested the waiver in December, but submitted it Monday to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to meet a federal deadline.
“The specific ‘bars’ for (adequate yearly progress) would no longer be in place,” state Department of Education spokesman Matt Cardoza said Tuesday in an email. “Instead, schools would get a score and we will set the target for those at a later date.”
Significantly for this school year, an approved waiver would mean high schools no longer must meet the 90 percent graduation rate requirement to make AYP.
The graduation rate measures the number students graduating within four years of entering high school. The AYP bar for that rate is a moving target; rising each year by 5 percent until the 2013-14 school year when it reaches 100 percent.
Had the graduation rate minimum been set at 90 percent for this school year, only Greenbrier and Lakeside high schools would have it in Columbia County.
At the 85 percent rate minimum for last school year, Evans High failed to reach it and failed to make AYP. Technically, Harlem High also would have failed to make the minimum, but since the school raised its graduation rate by 10 percent, it was deemed to have made progress.
In the waiver application, Barge also asked permission to implement the College and Career Ready Performance Index, which state officials say is a more fair and accurate assessment of how schools are educating pupils.
The index uses “accountability indicators,” such as content mastery and attendance, to determine a pupil’s readiness to attend college or enter the workforce, according to press release from the state Department of Education.
“Through Georgia’s College and Career Ready Performance Index, we will be able to use multiple indicators to determine a school’s overall impact on our students,” Barge said in the press release. “This approach will do more to ensure that the K-12 experience provides students with the academic preparation to compete globally, as well as the career development skills aligned with the evolving requirements of our workforce.”