Press Releases

For Immediate Release: January 3, 2012

Contact: Keith Hovis, 651-582-8275

Commissioner Cassellius to Bring Statewide Tour to Mankato, Marshall

Public Meetings Will Focus on No Child Left Behind Waiver and Plans for New Accountability System

Roseville, MN – The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) today announced the next stops in a series of statewide public meetings to provide information about Minnesota’s No Child Left Behind (NCLB) waiver request. Commissioner Brenda Cassellius and Department staff will visit Mankato on January 4 and Marshall on the 17 to present information about Minnesota’s waiver request and plans for a new accountability system that will more accurately and fairly measure schools progress.

Mankato: January 4 Public Meeting, 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. at the Minnesota River Room, Mankato Intergovernmental Center, 10 Civic Center Plaza.

Marshall: January 17 Public Meeting, 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. at the Marshall High School, Schwan Community Center for the Performing Arts, 400 Tiger Drive.

Central to Minnesota’s waiver request is the move from a widely criticized system that uses a single high-stakes test to measure school performance to a system that uses multiple measurements of accountability. Cassellius says that while measuring proficiency is absolutely essential in any accountability system, other data is needed to get a full picture of how a school is meeting the needs of students.

As outlined in the waiver request, Minnesota’s accountability plans will look at individual student growth, achievement gap reduction and graduation rates in addition to proficiency rates to generate a Multiple Measurements Rating (MMR) for every school in the state. The MMR rating measures performance in four key areas: proficiency in reading and math, student growth from year-to-year, higher levels of growth in groups of students that are farther behind, and progress in improving high school graduation rates. Schools that struggle to meet some or all of the goals will be given support to change the way they operate.

The new accountability system will allow the state to acknowledge schools that are most deserving of recognition, as well as focus attention on the schools in need of additional support. Schools will be identified as Priority, Focus and Reward Schools. The state’s lowest-performing schools will be identified as Priority Schools and will work directly with MDE to implement turnaround strategies that aim to dramatically improve the school's performance. Focus Schools are identified as the schools making the largest contribution to the state's achievement gap. Those schools will work with their district and with the support of MDE to provide targeted assistance to low-performing subgroups. The state’s highest performing schools will be identified as Reward Schools and will be singled out for recognition and studied to identify best practices.

Commissioner Cassellius previously held meetings in Rochester and St. Cloud and plans to announce additional tour stops in the metro area and other regions of Greater Minnesota that will take place throughout January and February.

To read more about Minnesota’s NCLB waiver request visit: http://education.state.mn.us/MDE/Welcome/AdvBCT/NCLBWaiver/index.html