PR to seek No Child Left Behind waiver
All told, 32 states and the District of Columbia have now been granted waivers from the No Child Left Behind law; four others have outstanding requests.
States granted waivers will be exempt from the law’s requirement that all students be proficient in math and reading by 2014 -- a goal the nation is still far from reaching. In its place, the Education Department has approved state plans aimed at improving low-performing schools, increasing teacher efficiency and preparing students for college and careers.
Gov. Luis Fortuño said during a Teachers Association forum on Monday that Puerto Rico will make the request in September, with an aim toward scrapping required annual achievement tests that he called “punitive.”
“We are going to solicit a change in the mechanism or evaluating measure so it is not a punitive final exam,” Fortuño said. “It should be one that measures growth throughout the school years. That is the methodology being looked at in many modern economies.
Popular Democratic Party gubernatorial candidate Alejandro García Padilla countered that there is no reason to throw out the annual achievement tests. He said the tests should be tweaked to better represent the “particularities” in Puerto Rico’s public school system.
Puerto Rican Independence Party gubernatorial candidate Juan Dalmau said the island’s Education Department shouldn’t seek Washington’s approval before making changes to the public school system.
Enrique Vázquez Quintana, gubernatorial candidate for the Sovereign Union Movement, said federal education laws shouldn’t apply in Puerto Rico.