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Oregon Leaves Behind “No Child”

By Bryan Navarro

MEDFORD, Ore. — Oregon joins 31 other states in leaving behind a much-criticized federally mandated education program. School districts and teachers are celebrating their freedom from No Child Left Behind.

Officials say students will have the same high level of expectations, but now there’s a different way of measuring them. Howard Elementary is the only “school in improvement” in Medford. But now that Oregon is exempt from No Child Left Behind it has lost that designation.

The U.S. Department of Education approved Oregon’s program to replace “No Child”; it’s called the ESEA Flexibility Waiver. The old way of measuring school’s effectiveness was measuring student’s scores against across-the-board standards, but now, districts will use a growth model, measuring students’ numbers at the start of the year versus the end of the year.

If a school does not live up to standards, it would be classified as a priority school or a focus school. Those schools would get help from state-level officials and from well-performing, “model” schools. Medford District officials expect statewide, fewer schools would be priority or focus under the new program than there are current improvement schools under “No Child.”

Medford District officials say they expect Howard to not be a priority or focus school because they’ve monitored year-to-year growth. The state is expected to release a list of those priority and focus schools in early August.