The state could more aggressively intervene in the lowest-performing publicly funded schools under a proposed accountability system unveiled Monday.

The system would rate schools on a scale of 0 to 100 based on student performance and growth on state tests, closing achievement gaps and preparing students for college and careers. Ratings also would be tied to dropout rates and third-grade literacy levels.

The Department of Public Instruction released a draft application to the U.S. Education Department for a waiver from the 10-year-old federal No Child Left Behind Act, which State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers said "has shackled schools by being overly prescriptive and prohibiting creative reforms."

"Wisconsin's request for flexibility from NCLB is driven by the belief that increasing rigor across the standards, assessment and accountability system will result in improved instruction and improved student outcomes," Evers said.

The waiver application provides the first details of an accountability system that Evers and Gov. Scott Walker have been developing for the past six months. Some details, such as how test scores translate to ratings, still have to be designed by a DPI technical committee.

Under the proposal, which would require legislative approval, Wisconsin would for the first time have a system to reward the best and reform the worst public schools — including charter schools and private schools that enroll publicly funded voucher students.

"This is light years ahead of where the state is now," said Doug Harris, a UW-Madison education and public affairs professor who advised the state's accountability reform task force.

Unlike other states like Florida that have developed their own systems for rating public schools, Wisconsin has typically "deferred to districts," Harris said. Under the proposed system, "responses by the state will be more aggressive and more thoughtful than they are now."

Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie said the governor's office was still reviewing the proposal Monday, but remained "hopeful the waiver will clearly and fairly contain accountability measures that will ultimately help improve education for students all across Wisconsin."

The proposal drew criticism from school choice advocates. For the poorest-performing charter schools and private voucher schools, it calls for revoking their charter or canceling their funding, while for traditional public schools, DPI would directly intervene and make changes.

Sarah Toce, executive director of the Wisconsin Charter Schools Association, said the proposal "effectively nullifies any sort of autonomy that charter schools in Wisconsin have and gives DPI unprecedented power."

Lynette Russell, assistant state superintendent for the division of student and school success, said for legal reasons the state can't intervene in private and charter schools in the same way it can in public schools.

"We've tried to keep it as parallel as we can," she said.

The Wisconsin Education Association Council, the state's largest teachers union, which didn't participate in the accountability task force but conducted its own listening sessions around the state, offered measured support for the underlying goals.

"The proposed measurement systems are better than what exists today," WEAC President Mary Bell said. "While this is a good first step, there are some areas not addressed in this waiver which we hope might be included in the final application such as measuring the education programs schools offer students, including courses in art, music and other areas that build a well-rounded education."

A public hearing on the proposal before the Legislature's education committees is scheduled for Feb. 2. DPI is accepting feedback until Feb. 3 and plans to submit its waiver application by Feb. 21.

The Department of Public Instruction released a draft of a proposed state accountability system:

• The new system would replace the current "adequate yearly progress" reports with an "accountability index" of 0 to 100.

• Schools would be judged on student performance and growth on state tests, closing achievement gaps and preparing students for college or careers.

• Schools also would be penalized for high dropout rates, low test participation rates and third-graders reading below grade level.

• The rating would be based on a new statewide test expected to replace the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination, starting for some schools as a pilot in 2013-14 and for all schools in 2014-2015. Students in grades 3-8 and 11 will take the online test in the spring, rather than the fall.

• College and career readiness would be partly based on the ACT and related EXPLORE and PLAN tests. DPI plans to ask the state to fund those tests for all high school students starting in the 2014-15 school year.

• Based on their rating, schools would fall into six categories: significantly exceeding expectations, exceeding expectations, meeting expectations, not meeting expectations, significantly below expectations and persistently failing to meet expectations. The waiver requires that 15 percent of schools that receive Title I funds fall into the bottom three categories.

• If the waiver is approved, schools such as Leopold Elementary in Madison would no longer have to provide school choice or tutoring services to students. Instead, low-performing schools must undergo a diagnostic review and develop improvement plans in the identified problem areas.

• Schools that are "persistently failing to meet expectations" also would have to contract a state-approved expert to implement reforms or face closure. If they don't improve after three years, the state superintendent would intervene with measures such as extended learning time and professional development.

• Top-performing schools will be publicly recognized and asked to share their practices with those not meeting expectations.

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