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Administration Announces New ESEA Flexibility

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June 20, 2013

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Administration Announces New ESEA Flexibility

Earlier this week, U.S. Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan announced two new flexibility waivers for states under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. A letter was sent to all Chief State School Offices with details on the waivers.

The first new waiver applies to states that already have ESEA waivers (a waiver to a waiver!) and have pledged to link teacher and principal evaluation systems to the new common core assessments. The waiver would allow states one additional year, until the 2016-17 school year, to apply consequences to personnel as a result of student performance on the new assessments. States would have to request the extra year individually, and the Department of Education would accept requests on a state-by-state basis. Only states with waivers granted before the summer of 2012 are eligible, since states with later waivers (Alaska, Hawaii, West Virginia) already have the extra time built in to their plans.

The second waiver relates to states that are piloting the new common core assessments with some students this school year. Those states would be able to avoid "double-testing" students who are involved in the pilot by only administering one assessment-the old one or new one. Since the new assessments are not ready for use in accountability systems yet, schools in the pilot would continue under their current accountability designation with appropriate requirements/interventions.

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