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School achievement compact seeks waiver from NCLB

At its June 25 board meeting meeting, the 509-J School District was among 197 school districts deciding whether to approve an "achievement compact," which would allow Oregon to apply for a waiver to the No Child Left Behind Act.
   Superintendent Rick Molitor explained that Oregon's achievement compacts set student achievement targets, to create a seamless educational transition from preschool through college.
   It will also tie in the goals of school districts with the state budgeting process.
   Senate Bill 253 established state 40-40-20 goals for high school and college. The bill says by the year 2025, 40 percent of adult Oregonians will earn a bachelor's degree, 40 percent will have a technical college degree, and 20 percent will have a high school diploma.
   Districts will be encouraged to collaborate, so successful ones can share their strategies, and struggling districts will receive state funds and direction to help them improve.
   The compacts require K-12 school districts to be sure students are college and career ready by having them earn nine college credits while still in high school, and track which students go on to college or trade school.
   Preschool will be needed to pass the kindergarten readiness assessment, and tests to see if students are on track will be given in third, sixth and ninth grades.
   "A lot of our kids don't go to preschool, and we will have to figure out how to change that," Molitor said.
   Senate Bill 909 created an Oregon Education Investment Board to make sure schools reach the required outcomes, and to make sure the state education budget is targeted to help them achieve those outcomes.
   Schools will submit achievement compacts to the education investment board annually, beginning with the 2012-13 school year.
   Oregon's compact system seeks to get a waiver from the NCLB Act, which promoters say has misleading and counterproductive aspects.
   "Without the punitive measures required under NCLB, there is the opportunity to raise achievement by providing individualized interventions for schools and districts tailored to meet their students' needs," an achievement compact white paper states.
   Molitor recommended that the 509-J board, "Take a leap of faith with us in creating a document that leads to achievement and approve the achievement compact," and it was passed by a unanimous vote of the board.