Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

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The US Department of Education is waiving all No Child Left Behind requirements for Missouri schools.

The federal law requires students to meet proficiency standards in reading and math by 2014. Missouri applied  for a waiver after roughly 18 percent of districts in the state failed to meet yearly academic goals.

DESE says that MAP scores are up, even though most local districts did not meet AYP targets, but Missouri's commissioner of education says rather than concentrating on what is mandated by NCLB, parents and others should concentrate on APR.

To translate for those of you who do not understand eduspeak:

The latest results on the Missouri Assessment Program show growth across the board, but the numbers were not high enough to meet the annual yearly progress mark set by the federal No Child Left Behind act.

Chris Nicastro
DESE website

When Chris Nicastro was named Missouri's commissioner of elementary and secondary education last year, the news was that she was the first woman and the first urban educator to hold that position.

No one knew that the better shorthand would be this: the commissioner who had to deal with the state's worst budget crisis in recent memory.

So is it accurate to sum up her first 12 months in the job as interesting?

"That's an understatement."