Washington lost a federal waiver that gave the state $40 Million for education. Spokane Public Schools said none of that money was lost, however school districts just lost control over how the money is spent.
Washington state has become the first to lose its federal waiver for requirements of the No Child Left Behind education law. State education officials said they received an email Thursday that they were losing the waiver because the state did not meet the U.S. Department of Education's requirement to include statewide student test results in teacher evaluations.
Most states have been given a waiver from some elements of the federal education law as a stopgap until Congress acts to reauthorize the law.
The state has been operating under a conditional waiver for the past two school years.
The move means 17 schools in Spokane alone will suffer.
The loss of the waiver doesn't mean lost money, but it might as well. The people impacted most are students who need help at the poorest schools, according to Director of Early Learning Dr. Lorna Spear.
"You're looking at children who need the support and thrive under these additional supports and we're saying, 'No, we can't do that now,'" she said.
Usually those students will get help from a second teacher in the classroom, so they don't fall behind.
"Those are teachers actually right in the classrooms in small groups of children with reading or math helping them right then when they need help," Spear explained.
Those teachers will now be reassigned.
The state lost its waiver because the legislature and teachers didn't want to base their evaluations off standardized test scores. Students in special education and English as a second language would have been held to the same standard.
"I would like somebody to tell me what good is that going to do for our students? What good would that do for our students to do that," said Jenny Rose with the Spokane Education Association.
The change also means if students want to switch from a failing school to a better one, they can. That's where the money will go, taken out of classrooms to help transport kids between school boundaries.
"I would be very surprised to see how many parents actually do that, because they do love their local schools. They love their local teachers and the staff that works at the school," Rose said.
It's nearly $2 Million District 81 has to hold onto. That money will also go to after school programs for those kids who need help in the classroom. They'll still get help but it will be after school instead of right away.
This move goes into effect this coming fall. The list of schools in District 81 impacted by the move include: