Strategies for improving AYP

State education agencies across the United States have developed numerous strategies designed to improve AYP. For instance, steps taken by the Georgia Department of Education include new and more rigorous curriculum, the placement of "graduation specialists" in each high school across the state, comprehensive high school redesign focused on rigorous and relevant education, and integrated technology throughout learning, including the Georgia Virtual School and a free online SAT prep course.

However, outside critics and analysts continue to make their own suggestions on improvements for Adequate Yearly Progress. One example of this is Robert Manwaring (a Senior Policy Analyst at Education Sector), who has many suggestions at the federal, state and local levels. On the federal level, Manwaring believes that No Child Left Behind has been too "hands-off" and that states have been avoiding hard choices such as replacing people in failing schools. He believes intervention in low-performing districts has been too slow to occur. He believes the key is for the federal government to insist on heavier oversight from the states and to propose shorter timelines for quicker actions to be taken with consistently failing schools. He believes the federal government should continue to invest in school improvement, but move from a "formula-driven program" to competitive grants, which will reward schools who make drastic improvement in low-performing schools. He believes that states should be in charge of approving the "other major restructuring plans" (as discussed above) for schools, in order to ensure that they are the right steps to drastically improve student performance. Lastly, he believes Title I funding "comparability" requirements should be changed to make sure that all Title I schools receive an accurate amount of state and local funding.

On the state level, Manwaring believes that states are reluctant to intervene in low-performing schools, and that many state departments lack the experience or capacity to facilitate school turnaround anyway. He suggests that states should identify schools in need of improvement, and require districts to implement an intervention model, during which the state will provide support and monitor progress. He believes they should take control of charter schools by ensuring effective charter oversight, closing low-performing charter schools and providing a fair amount of funding and facilities to successful charters. Lastly, he states should monitor school restructuring closely and be prepared to step in when needed.

On the local level, Manwaring believes that since local school districts are closest to the schools, and have the flexibility necessary to act immediately for students, they should change their policies to ensure that schools have an equal amount of resources, and to reinforce the fact that long-term failure is unacceptable. He suggests that districts push for collective bargaining agreements that allow for improving the staff at low-performing schools, including evaluation systems that allow for the timely removal of poor performing teachers. He also believes that school leaders must be able to make radical changes quickly in order to turn around low-performing schools, with high teacher investment in such policies. Lastly, he believes that school districts need to be prepared to establish new schools in order to close the lowest-performing schools over time.