Obama Administration Approves NCLB Flexibility Extension Request for New Mexico

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Obama Administration Approves NCLB Flexibility Extension Request for New Mexico

November 14, 2014

The Obama Administration announced today that New Mexico has received a one-year extension for flexibility from certain provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

"America's schools and classrooms are undergoing some of the largest changes in decades—changes that will help prepare our students with the critical thinking and problem-solving skills that tomorrow's economy will require," U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. "This extension will allow the states to continue the critical work of implementing the bold reforms they developed to improve achievement for all students."

ESEA has been due for Congressional reauthorization since 2007. In the absence of reauthorization, President Obama announced in September 2011 that the administration would grant waivers from parts of the law to qualified states, in exchange for state-developed plans designed to improve educational outcomes for all students, close achievement gaps, increase equity and improve the quality of instruction. The one-year extension of ESEA flexibility allows the states to continue moving forward on the ambitious work they began with their initial flexibility requests.

New Mexico has implemented education reforms that go above and beyond the requirements in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Examples of that work include:

  • The New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) is conducting data reviews to support low-performing schools, including schools with grades of D or F, as well as schools identified as priority or focus schools. NMPED will work with districts to compile data about the lowest performing students, the highest performing students, and all subgroups, and will use these data in conversations with district and school leadership teams to develop action steps to support the lowest performing students.
  • NMPED has developed a differentiated system of technical assistance, which ensures that the state education agency provides support to schools in accordance with needs. For low-performing schools, this system includes a New Mexico Instructional Audit (NMIA), data reviews, customized support based upon the data reviews, as well as regular monitoring and support through the Web Educational Plan for Student Success (WebEPSS) system. However, even NMPED's highest performing schools are required to develop action steps to address achievement gaps.

In order to receive an extension, states must demonstrate that they have resolved any state-specific issues and next steps as a result of the Department's monitoring, as well as any other outstanding issues related to ESEA flexibility. States could also request additional amendments to support their continuous improvement efforts. The extension is through the 2014-2015 school year. The Department is reviewing requests from states for one-year extensions to ESEA flexibility on a rolling basis.

Forty-one states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico currently have ESEA flexibility, 34 of which expired this summer. Of those, 33 submitted an extension request. Thirty-one states: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin and the District of Columbia have been granted extensions since July 3.