On August 12 the Obama administration approved Maine for a waiver from some of the most contentious requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB), bringing the total number state waiver approvals to 40.
Since fall 2011, 45 states, as well as D.C., Puerto Rico and the Bureau of Indian Education have requested waivers from ESEA. As we’ve talked about in previous PI Blog postings, these waivers provide relief from the 2014 AYP deadline, among other requirements, in exchange for states adopting college and career ready standards; new teacher and principal evaluation systems – based in part on student growth; new assessments that measure student growth; and differentiated accountability systems. U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan stated, “Forty states and the District of Columbia can't wait any longer for education reform--our kids can't wait any longer for Congress to act." ESEA has been up for reauthorization – rewrite – since 2007 but Congress has been unable to pass a bill to present to the President for his signature. Over the last two months, both the House and Senate have taken significant steps to rewrite ESEA but there are major differences between the two visions. Read more about that here.
Currently, there are five states that have yet to be approved for waivers which include: Illinois, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wyoming, as well as the Bureau of Indian Education and Puerto Rico. There are also five states that have not requested waivers which include: California, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota (request withdrawn), and Vermont (request withdrawn). Check out the Department of Education’s interactive map on ESEA Flexibility requests.
While California made the decision not to request an ESEA flexibility waiver, eight school districts joined together and received a waiver last week. Are you in a state with an ESEA waiver? If so, share with us your experiences by commenting below or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org!