Federal Government Grants Historic No Child Left Behind Waiver

The U.S. Department of Education has granted the first broad-based school-district waiver from the No Child Left Behind Act. This act was signed into law almost a decade ago by President George W. Bush and requires all government-run schools receiving federal funding to administer statewide standardized tests.

Randy Watson, the McPherson Unified School District superintendent, was informed last week that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan approved the waiver request from his school district. In partnership with Quantum Learning and ACT, Inc., McPherson USD developed the C³ – Citizenship, College and Career Readiness plan that contains measures in the three areas of emphasis.

Dr. Watson said that the U.S. Department of Education called the C³ initiative “bold, challenging and one of a kind in the United States.” He also indicated that his district was told by DOE officials that similar future waiver requests from other school districts will need to follow the McPherson model.

“Quantum Learning is thrilled to be part of this breakthrough initiative in McPherson,” said Bobbi DePorter, president of Quantum Learning Network, which integrates Quantum Learning teacher and student programs in school districts nationwide and has worked with McPherson USD for nearly 10 years.

Ms. DePorter went on to say that the opportunity to develop students who are better equipped for success in college, careers and life is consistent with Quantum Learning’s mission to transform education and the lives of young people through more effective teaching strategies and student engagement.

Standardized testing mandated by No Child Left Behind has come under significant scrutiny in recent months from many who believe the state standardized tests have too narrow an academic focus, are not an authentic measurement of a student’s learning, and create undue stress for students, teachers, administrators and parents.

Dr. Watson chose to partner with Quantum Learning on development of the Citizenship-Ready component of the C³ model. Quantum Learning’s 8 Keys of Excellence is McPherson USD’s foundation for teaching and assessing students in their citizenship readiness. The model also includes a partnership with ACT, which will supply multiple assessments for 6th–12th grade students based on a College Ready/Career Ready curriculum.


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