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Washington submits education plan to replace No Child Left Behind

The federal government is just beginning to enforce the Obama-era education rule called Every Student Succeeds Act. The measure replaces the No Child Left Behind Act.

Each state needs to show the federal government how they'll comply, and Washington state officials have just submitted their plan.

It will mean less focus on test scores in Washington.

State school superintendent Chris Reykdal says tests are like a thermometer: they give certain information at a given moment. He says Washington wants to use new benchmarks to evaluate schools, besides testing.

Reykdal: "Graduation rates will be 50 percent of the formula. We include things now like absenteeism of students, and how they're performing in the 9th grade, and whether or not they're getting access to dual-credit courses like Running Start, College in the High School, and other things."

The criteria will be used to identify schools that need improvement. Reykdal says the new plan may pinpoint hundreds of schools that didn't get attention under No Child Left Behind.

Reykdal: "Maybe there's a very specific population of students, or two, that are struggling. Maybe it's English language learners or maybe it's students of color. In that case we will have some state support where we will help them and guide them."

For years, Washington and other states have had a federal waiver for some stricter parts of the No Child Left Behind Act.

The state's new education plan will now be reviewed by federal officials. They'll determine whether Washington meets the federal guidelines.