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Department Announces ESEA Waiver Renewal

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August 30, 2013

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Department Announces ESEA Waiver Renewal

With the 2013-14 school year upon us, the U.S. Department of Education announced today that states who have received a waiver from requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) may submit a renewal application to extend their waiver through 2016. Currently, waivers issued during the 2012-13 school year are set to expire at the end of this school year.

Because congressional leaders have not been able to come to any agreement on how to update ESEA since 2007, waivers were implemented by the department as way for states to find relief from certain requirements of the law, such as adequate yearly progress (AYP). In exchange for a waiver, states had to submit plans to prepare all students for college and career, focus aid on the neediest students, and support effective teaching and school leadership.

To receive a waiver renewal, states will need to be able to demonstrate that they are: 

  • on track to meet current commitments and requirements under ESEA flexibility 
  • have a plan for implementing ESEA flexibility through the 2015-2016 school year 
  • meeting the high bar set to protect all students and support all teachers and principals under ESEA flexibility 
  • identifying schools and subgroups in need and ensuring they receive interventions and supports 
  • resolving any outstanding monitoring findings or compliance issues in ESEA flexibility or related programs 

Additionally, the renewal process will require states to make any needed modifications to their originally approved plans to improve student learning or quality of instruction. For instance, the department will be placing a heavy emphasis on states implementing new teacher evaluation systems to ensure low-income and minority students are not taught at higher rates by ineffective teachers than their peers.

If your state has previously been issued a waiver, you can find more information on the renewal process on the department’s website. In the coming month, the department will release additional guidance and provide technical assistance for states seeking a renewal. 

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