The start of the new school year is right around the corner, if not already here.
But some school districts across the state will start with less restrictions on proficiency requirements.
That’s because the no child left behind act is no longer a guideline in Pennsylvania.
The US Department of Education approved the state’s request for a waiver on Tuesday.
Superintendents in central PA say the no child left behind act was a good thing — when it was first established.
But now 12 years later, they believe that the 100% proficiency requirement made it seem like all students learn at the same pace, and that’s far from the truth.
This 550 page waiver saves the state millions of dollars according to Jim Buckheit — the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators.
“Allows school districts and schools to move money where it’s most needed instead of having these artificial barriers on how this money should be used,” says Jim Buckheit.
He says the law was supposed to change in 2007.
Washington’s still debating that but the state doesn’t want to wait around anymore.
“It set this unrealistic 100% expectation for all students,” says Buckheit.
The no child left behind act requires teachers to make sure all students are progressing to a certain guideline according to a yearly exam.
But starting this year local teachers will be able to assess each student according to their needs.
“If we go backwards with a student, that’s a terrible thing,” says David Reeder, the Camp Hill Superintendent.
Reeder says it takes the stress off for teachers and refocuses it.
“The pressure is to take a student wherever they are, whatever their reading level is — whatever their math level is and makes sure it improves,” says Reeder.
Along with educators the district itself also gets some relief.
“There may be 25 different measures that a schools is evaluated against and the school misses one of those and it’s labeled a failure,” says Buckheit.
Pennsylvania is one of the last state’s to submit a waiver.
The state’s department of education says that’s the case because they wanted to see how other states were changing things after getting rid of the law.