U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Announces New Flexibility for States to Better Meet the Needs of Students, Local Communities

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U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Announces New Flexibility for States to Better Meet the Needs of Students, Local Communities

January 31, 2020

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced new flexibility for four states that are rethinking education in order to better serve students and meet local needs. Massachusetts, North Carolina, Texas and Vermont were recently approved to participate in the Education Flexibility Program (Ed-Flex), which was updated by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Ed-Flex encourages local innovation and returns power to states from the U.S. Department of Education by allowing states to waive certain federal statutory or regulatory requirements under the law.

"We are committed to shifting control over education decisions from Washington back to where it belongs: in the hands of state and local education leaders who know what's best for their students and communities," said Secretary DeVos. "This important program provides an additional mechanism for us to do so.  I am pleased to approve Massachusetts, North Carolina, Texas and Vermont to participate in Ed-Flex and look forward to seeing what these states will accomplish with more flexibility and less micromanagement from Washington."

In their successful applications, these states proposed to use additional flexibility to release school districts from onerous federal requirements in favor of a locally-driven approach. The state goals are as follows:

  • Massachusetts plans to use the flexibility to enhance educator recruitment and licensure.
  • North Carolina will use the flexibility to address class size, school year schedule and funding to schools in areas of need.
  • Texas intends to provide flexibility around staff development requirements, teacher certification and attendance requirements.
  • Vermont will use the flexibility to enhance school districts' ability to implement long-term improvement initiatives while keeping their focus on improving student outcomes.

All states are eligible to apply to the Ed-Flex program, and the U.S. Department of Education continues to accept applications for the program. Please visit oese.ed.gov to learn more about applying.