ESEAFlex: Protecting School & Student Accountability - USDOE

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  • 7/29/2019 ESEAFlex: Protecting School & Student Accountability - USDOE


    Protecting School andStudent Accountability

    BACKGROUND:The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) has directedederal resources to schools or more than our decades to help ensure

    all children have equal access to a quality education. The most recentreauthorizationor congressional update to the lawoccurred with the

    passage o the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001(NCLB). Although ESEAwas due or reauthorization in 2007, NCLB has governed education policy

    in states and school districts or more than a decade. While waiting orCongress to complete its next reauthorization, the U.S. Department oEducation has oered states exibility rom prescriptive provisions o the law

    that have become barriers to state and local implementation o innovativeeducation reorms. ESEA exibility moves away rom top-down policies,

    instead supporting decisions inormed by data and expertise at the stateand local levels. All participating states must show how their reorm plans

    advance all students achievement by maintaining a high bar or studentsuccess, closing achievement gaps, improving the quality o instruction,

    and increasing equity by better targeting support and resources to schoolsbased on need.


    All students deserve the same opportunity to learn and thrive no matterwhere they live. ESEA exibility enables state and district education

    ocials, principals, and teachers to implement systems o accountability,support, and recognition or their schools that are tailored to local contexts

    and the unique needs o individual schools. As a part o these systems,

    states approved or ESEA exibility must maintain high standards orstudent perormance and commit to eliminating achievement gaps betweendisadvantaged students and their peers. States also must individualize

    their education improvement eorts by targeting their lowest-perormingschools and schools with the largest achievement gaps or intensiveinterventions and by acknowledging schools that make progress toward

    college- and career-ready standards.* All schools must thereore usesubgroup perormance data against achievement and graduation rate targets

    to drive interventions and supports. These locally created accountability

    systems include more students, better ocus support on school and studentneeds, and require more aggressive action or chronic low perormance

    than measures under NCLB. How states and districts support subgroupso students must be driven by their progress toward meeting assessmentperormance targets and graduation rates.

    Through ESEA exibility, the Department will both recognize states or demonstrating successsuch as creatingindividualized systems o school accountability and supportand challenge states that all short o their goals to pursue

    rigorous reorm eorts that ocus on what is best or students.

    *See the Defnition Box.

    Defnition Box:

    *College- and Career-Ready Standards:Content standards or kindergartenthrough 12th grade that build towardcollege and career readiness by thetime o high school graduation.

    *Title I: A ederally unded programproviding fnancial assistance to localeducational agencies and schools with ahigh percentage o children rom low-income amilies to help ensure that allchildren meet state academic standards.

    History in Review:

    ESEA, through its successivereauthorizations by Congress,consistently strived to highlightthe education inequities betweendisadvantaged students and theirpeers. Yet, until its 2001 reauthorization,a public school receiving ederalTitle I* unds could overlook disparities

    in student subgroup perormance ithat schools overall student populationperormed well. NCLB exposed dramaticperormance disparities by requiringschools to disaggregateor break outtheir student test data by subgroups thatinclude students with disabilities, EnglishLearners, racial and ethnic minorities andunderprivileged students. ESEA exibilityrequires states to maintain a commitmentto report the perormance o all studentsubgroups, taking action in schools thatdont measure up, yet also providingrewards or subgroup perormance gains.







    Waivers States









  • 7/29/2019 ESEAFlex: Protecting School & Student Accountability - USDOE



    Examples o strong plans that states have proposed to protect school and

    student accountability ollow.

    Colorados exibility plan ocuses on the growth o individual

    students to ensure they graduate ready to succeed in college ora career. The plan:


    on district, school, and student growth, as well as

    achievement, graduation rates, dropout rates, and college

    readiness. Based on this inormation, the state will

    categorize schools by our levels; and


    the state in order to create improvement plans and implement the most rigorous interventions,

    while the highest-category schools and districts will be allowed more autonomy.

    New Yorks exibility plan will ocus on the district and school levels.


    perormance goals.


    their goals, the district nonetheless will receive hands-on assistance rom the state.

    Marylands plan categorizes each o its schools into one o fve perormance strands:


    strand; and


    achievement in reading, mathematics, and science.

    I ully support the undamental goal o accountability, but I have never elt comortable with theone-size-fts-all nature o NCLB. Tese waivers allow us to better meet the needs o our schools and

    students while also giving clear inormation to parents about perormance and progress.

    - North Carolina State Superintendent June Atkinson

    ESEA fexibility granted May 29, 2012

    Fast Facts:


    a total o 45 states and the District

    o Columbia have adopted college-

    and career-ready standards. Inthe2010-2011schoolyear,only

    51 percent o schools nationally met

    their annual perormance targets.


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