Perhaps I misunderestimated the Department of Education on this No Child Left Behind growth model pilot? The Department said they’d only take ten states, despite concern that not even that many were equipped to do this. Then 20 states applied and people started to worry. But now only 8 have made it through the first cut to go to peer review where they’ll meet Bill Taylor, Rick Hanushek, and Kati Haycock as Simon Cowell. Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, North Carolina, Oregon, and Tennessee get to go to the big stage while Colorado, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah got sent packing.
Still too soon to tell for sure and plenty of room for mischief in the plans that made it (and politically to make a bad plan the floor for the next reauthorization of No Child Left Behind). One thing that jumps out is the idea of projected growth at key stages and setting benchmarks, for instance high school ready, as it seems that TN is doing. If not done carefully, seems this could either (a) end up shifting all the accountability burden onto middle schools, sixth grade teachers, etc… or (b) give life to George Miller’s concern that growth models are perpetually “getting there” with no moment of real responsibility for where a student is, or rather is not. But still, so far mostly so good.