The new flexibility supports local and state education reform across the country in exchange for serious state-led efforts to close achievement gaps, promote rigorous accountability, and ensure that all students are on track to graduate college- and career-ready.
Here’s how flexibility may affect you:
ESEA flexibility will move accountability systems toward decisions that are based on student growth and progress. They will consider more than a single test score measured against an arbitrary proficiency level. States will be able to look comprehensively at how schools are serving their students and communities, in areas like school climate, access to rigorous coursework, and providing a well-rounded education.
Flexibility also will support States and districts in fixing the broken teacher evaluation systems, by allowing for the use of multiple measures to evaluate teachers, including peer reviews, principal observation, portfolios, and student work.
ESEA Flexibility will let States create honest accountability and support systems that require real change in the worst performing schools, allow for locally tailored solutions based on individual school needs, and recognize schools for success. When schools fall short, parents will know that school leaders will adopt targeted and focused strategies for the students most at risk.
The accountability system also will end the over-emphasis on testing. Parents will like this change for the same reasons that teachers will – it will promote a well-rounded curriculum while giving a fair and responsible assessment of their school’s success in preparing students for college and careers.
Under ESEA flexibility, States will begin to move beyond the bubble tests and dumbed-down standards that are based on arbitrary standards of proficiency. By measuring student growth and critical thinking, new assessments will inspire better teaching and greater student engagement across a well-rounded curriculum. By setting standards based on college- and career-readiness, States will challenge students to make progress toward a goal that will prepare them for success in the 21st century knowledge economy.