No Child Left Behind restrictions lifted for OH schools

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - Big changes could be coming to local school districts, especially Toledo Public Schools. They are getting some freedom from No Child Left Behind regulations.

TPS leaders and school board members were behind the effort earlier this year to apply for a waiver to drop Ohio from certain No Child Left Behind restrictions. The U.S. Department of Education has granted the waiver bringing the total number of states with exemptions to 19.

School districts believe some of the restrictions from No Child Left Behind are too severe. Many of the regulations were simply unrealistic. TPS feared schools would be forced to shut down or staff shuffled around if test scores did not improve.

However, TPS Superintendent Dr. Jerome Pecko said this waiver could free up $4 million that has been required to pay for tutoring programs for underachieving students. That money could be used towards the budget or for programs to get Toledo's children proficient in reading by the third grade.

"We can move the dollars down and we can focus on children that are actually in kindergarten first grade and second grade. We can even take a look at preschool and opportunities that way, as well," said Pecko.

But there are some concerns. The state would come up with its own benchmarks to replace No Child Left Behind and the current system of grading school districts could change to a letter grade.

TPS has been a "continuing improvement" district the last three years, but the new system would consider that a C grade. The superintendent said that would not give an accurate account of the progress TPS is making.

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