For Immediate Release: June 18, 2013
JACKSON, Miss. –Dr. Lynn House, interim state superintendent of education, participated in a conference call today with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to announce the administration’s decision to allow states more time in factoring student achievement into teacher and principal evaluations as they transition to more rigorous standards to prepare students for college and career. The goal is to give states extra time before making personnel decisions based on student performance under higher standards.
In addition to considering states’ requests for a one-year waiver from parts of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the U.S. Department of Education is open to requests from states seeking to avoid the “double testing” of students that often occurs during a transition between tests. States that request this flexibility may choose to either administer their current statewide assessments or field test new assessments aligned with college and career-ready standards.
House joined Mitchell Chester, Massachusetts Commissioner of Education and president of the Council of Chief State School Officers, on the call with Duncan. She said she appreciated the USDE’s openness to providing additional flexibility in a few areas related to new, higher standards, new assessments and teacher evaluation systems.
“Mississippi officials will certainly spend the next few weeks working with our constituents to ensure that we are very deliberate with any additional flexibility that we seek. I thank Secretary Duncan for supporting this opportunity and for acknowledging that a state-by-state approach is the best one to use, while validating the need to continue the work being done to ensure that all students have access to an education that prepares them for a productive future,” she said.
Duncan said conversations with educators across the country influenced the decision to allow states to seek additional time for using the new evaluation systems to make personnel decisions.
“Education leaders have embraced the state-led move for higher standards that will benefit children throughout the country and will strengthen America’s economic competitiveness. Moving forward with those changes is urgent, and their implementation cannot be put on hold. Yet ensuring that educators are well prepared to implement those new standards is critically important,” he said.