“We can’t wait,” President Obama said earlier today at a White House event to announce that 10 states have been approved for flexibility in exchange for reform from No Child Left Behind. The ten states approved for flexibility are Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.
“The goals of No Child Left Behind were the right ones,” the President said, pointing to standards, accountability and closing the achievement gap. “We’ve got to stay focused on those goals,” he said. “But we need to do it in a way that doesn’t force teachers to teach to the test, or encourage schools to lower their standards to avoid being labeled as failures.”
In a statement earlier today, Secretary Duncan said that “rather than dictating educational decisions from Washington, we want state and local educators to decide how to best meet the individual needs of students.”
To get flexibility from NCLB, states must adopt and have a plan to implement college and career-ready standards. They must also create comprehensive systems of teacher and principal development, evaluation and support that include factors beyond test scores, such as principal observation, peer review, student work, or parent and student feedback.
States receiving waivers no longer have to meet 2014 targets set by NCLB but they must set new performance targets for improving student achievement and closing achievement gaps.
They also must have accountability systems that recognize and reward high-performing schools and those that are making significant gains, while targeting rigorous and comprehensive interventions for the lowest-performing schools.
Under the state-developed plans, all schools will develop and implement plans for improving educational outcomes for underperforming subgroups of students. State plans will require continued transparency around achievement gaps, but will provide schools and districts greater flexibility in how they spend Title I federal dollars.
Click here to read the press release.
Click here to read the President’s remarks.
Additional information on ESEA Flexibility, including request details, can be found at www.ed.gov/esea/flexibility.