NCLB waiver in hand, Christie outlines accountability system

TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie said today that the waiver application approval regarding No Child Left Behind is proof that his administration’s education reforms are part of a nationwide, bipartisan trend.

The U.S. Department of Education announced this morning that New Jersey is one of 10 states whose waiver application was OK’d.

“We are once again proving that New Jersey is leading the way on the issues that matter most to our children’s future and our shared future as a state and nation,” Christie said in a release.

“The Obama Administration’s approval of our education reform agenda contained in this application confirms that our bold, common sense, and bipartisan reforms are right for New Jersey and shared by the President and Secretary (Arne) Duncan’s educational vision for the country,” he said.

Christie said that four pieces of legislation are needed to achieve the education reform goals in the NCLB waiver application.

This package of bills, one of which has been enacted, goes hand in hand with the reforms in the waiver to fix failing schools and will result in greater school choice for students in underperforming districts, a system to identify and reward effective teachers, and supports for teachers who are not getting results for children, the administration stated.  

“There is no single solution to turn around chronically failing schools or close the achievement gap. So, it is critical that the Legislature join me, standing alongside President Obama and Secretary Duncan, in providing the comprehensive set of tools needed to give every children in every part of our state the opportunity and hope that only comes with a quality education,” Christie said.

The state Department of Education will implement an accountability system beginning in September that measures schools based on both growth and absolute attainment, and that focuses state resources on drastically improving those schools that are persistently failing and/or have large achievement gaps, according to the administration. 

As part of that, the state Department of Education will create three tiers of schools. These schools will be identified during the summer, and interventions will begin in the 2012-13 school year, the state reported.

The tiers will include Priority schools, the lowest-performing 5 percent; Focus schools, 10 percent of schools that show achievement gaps among student groups; and Reward schools, showing high-proficiency levels and progress toward closing achievement gaps.

Earlier story:

U.S. Dept. of Education: N.J. waiver approved

  NCLB waiver in hand, Christie outlines accountability system