With 34 states and the District of Columbia approved for ESEA flexibility, the U.S. Department of Education released a series of new publications this week, describing the flexibility program and the ways in which some participating states are advancing important education reforms.
ESEA flexibility enables states and districts to maintain a high bar for student achievement while better targeting resources to schools and students most in need of additional support. The publication series includes a brochure and fact sheets on topics that relate to five priority areas under ESEA flexibility (pdf files):
- Continuing to expose and close achievement gaps;
- Advancing accountability for graduation rates;
- Turning around the lowest-performing schools;
- Protecting school and student accountability; and
- Supporting teachers, leaders, and local innovation.
The Department announced voluntary ESEA flexibility in September 2011 in the absence of a reauthorization – or congressional update – to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The most recent update to the federal education law – the No Child Left Behind Act – was due for reauthorization in 2007, but has governed a changing national education landscape for more than a decade. ESEA flexibility allows states and districts to replace the “one-size-fits-all,” prescriptive provisions of NCLB with state-led reforms tailored to address their most pressing education challenges.
For more information about ESEA flexibility and to access the new brochure and fact sheets, please visit this Web site.
Tiffany Taber is senior communications and events manager at the U.S. Department of Education