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Alaska, Hawaii and West Virginia Approved for ESEA Flexibility


May 22, 2013


Alaska, Hawaii and West Virginia Approved for ESEA Flexibility

On Monday, May 20, the U.S. Department of Education approved an additional three states— Alaska, Hawaii and West Virginia—for flexibility from key requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). These additions bring the total number states approved for flexibility to 37 with an additional 8 states having applied and awaiting approval.

In September 2011, in the face of congressional gridlock, the department developed flexibility waivers as a way to release states from the burdens of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), which was imposed on schools in the 2001 authorization of ESEA known as No Child Left Behind. Waivers are issued in exchange for state-developed plans, approved by the Department of Education, “to prepare all students for college and career, focus aid on the neediest students and support effective teaching and leadership.”

At the time of this posting the department had not yet posted the approved applications, but we were able to review the original applications. If the final plans are similar, like some of the previously approved applications, these new waivers will allow Alaska, Hawaii and West Virginia to introduce real measures of career readiness and boost their CTE programs.

  • Alaska will introduce career readiness assessment participation rates and scores into its school performance index for high schools in addition to its academic indicators.
  • Hawaii will reserve 55 percent of the school academic performance index score for “readiness” indicators. These include on-time graduation rates, college-going rates and student performance on college- and career-readiness assessments.
  • West Virginia did not include career readiness measures in its accountability index. However, the state’s plan mentioned the development of rigorous CTE programs around six career clusters that will give students the opportunity to earn an industry-recognized credential.

To view the applications of these or other states who have applied or been approved, please visit the Department of Education’s website or see this previous summary post from the CTE Policy Watch blog. ACTE will continue to monitor the application process and will bring you any updates on the remaining eight applicants or the five states who have not yet requested flexibility.

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