ASHEVILLE — Gov. Bev Perdue confirmed Thursday that North Carolina will join other states in asking the federal government to waive No Child Left Behind requirements for its public schools — 56 percent of which in Western North Carolina and 72.3 percent of which statewide didn’t make Adequate Yearly Progress in 2010-2011 under the statute’s grading system.
Carolina Public Press’ analysis of the recent Adequate Yearly Progress grades for schools in the 17 westernmost counties in North Carolina indicated the best-performing school systems in the region were Polk, Mitchell and Madison counties. Polk County Schools was the only district in the region where all of its schools met all stated education goals. Swain County, Buncombe County and Asheville City schools were the top three worst-performing systems in the area, according to the data. Swain County’s school system was the only one in Western North Carolina in which none of its schools made Adequate Yearly Progress.
The governor was critical Thursday of how No Child Left Behind evaluates student progress in reading, writing and math proficiency.
“A lot of us never believed in the premise of No Child Left Behind,” Perdue said after her address to the Rotary Club of Asheville. Perdue said metrics the law uses to measure every school in the United States are flawed, in part because there’s “no delineation for special needs children or non-English-speaking children.”
The Obama administration is looking to grant qualifying states waivers to No Child Left Behind’s requirements because Congress has not passed a bill to reform the law.
Last year, North Carolina’s State Board of Education adopted the Common Core State Standards to be rolled out in fall 2012. On Thursday, Perdue said using these standards rather than the No Child Left Behind’s will help “ensure excellence in education” in North Carolina.
The North Carolina State Board of Education, Perdue said, will be the government arm to make the formal request for a waiver.