The Education Dept. grants continued flexibility waivers to four states — Florida, Idaho, Ohio and South Dakota — from provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB).
These states are implementing comprehensive, state-designed plans to ensure student success.
“States, districts, principals and teachers are showing incredible creativity in using different means to achieve the same goal—getting every student in America college- and career-ready,” said Education Secy. Arne Duncan.
Since the first NCLB waivers were granted in 2012, the department has partnered with state and district leaders to provide relief from some provisions of NCLB in exchange for taking bold actions to improve student outcomes and ensure equity for all students. Under NCLB, schools were given many ways to fail but very few opportunities to succeed. The law forced schools and districts into one-size-fits-all solutions, regardless of the individual needs and circumstances in those communities.
Under the flexibility plans, states continue to focus funding on comprehensive, rigorous interventions in their lowest-performing schools and supports to help the neediest students meet high expectations alongside their peers.
Each state has its own plan.
To support school districts in increasing the number of middle school students with early access to high school-level courses, Florida has increased the number of high school courses available to middle grades students and has continued to include acceleration in its accountability system.
- The Florida Department of Education’s Office of Communications has unveiled a new website that includes materials and videos for parents, educators and the public on what quality standards-based instruction looks like.
Idaho uses its ESEA flexibility waiver to provide additional support and flexibility to schools and districts across the state. The state specifically targets college- and career-readiness, access to early childhood education, and building a mutually responsible environment that is adaptive, innovative, and drives continuous improvement.
Ohio is allowing middle school students that are taking advanced, high school level courses such as Algebra I, Geometry, English Language Arts I & II and Biology to take the corresponding end-of-course, high school-level assessment instead of the typically required middle school assessment. This will incentivize more students to take advanced college- and career-ready courses.
- The state has developed the Ohio Improvement Process to support its lowest-performing school districts. These districts will be assigned Transformation Specialists and State Support Teams who will ensure the proper implementation of the appropriate intervention models throughout the improvement process. In addition, these teams will provide professional development and on-site coaching to district and building leadership teams as well as school leaders.
- South Dakota
Preparing for ESEA flexibility led the South Dakota Department of Education to take a new approach to how the work of the agency is accomplished. As a result, barriers among divisions have come down, and staff work more collaboratively and more cohesively than ever before. This ultimately has led to more effective work on behalf of South Dakota’s schools.
Forty-two states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia have received flexibility from the regulatory requirements of the existing law in order to support improved achievement in schools. All states up for renewal have submitted a request to extend their flexibility, with Nebraska requesting a waiver for the first time.
In addition to these states, DoEd renewed NCLB flexibility for Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin. The final renewal decisions for this year are upcoming.