The talk about complying with NCLB waivers from Secretary Duncan may have caused us to forget: there are states that don't have waivers. Because it is now that magic year in which no child is to be left behind--2014--states that do not have waivers, and are thus still under the law, must have every child testing up to standards or have the schools declared underperforming.
No surprise: nearly all schools are getting that tag.
States and schools aren't simply taking this, though. Vermont's Secretary of Education Rebecca Holcombe fulfilled the requirement that parents be informed of their schools "low performing" label with this thoughtful letter, disagreeing with this label and discussing what makes for a quality education.
Washington state, which recently lost its waiver due to disagreements over teacher evaluation, likewise has more clear information coming out to parents along with the required notification: 28 superintendents have signed a letter to parents disagreeing with the label.
A number of the states without a waiver are finding that, labels or not, they are freer and more able to move ahead, as they don't have to negotiate with the Department of Education when making decisions.
I'm sure there's a lesson in here somewhere.