Department of Education Requests Waivers To Federal No Child Left Behind Provisions
LANSING - Schools, students, and teachers across Michigan would benefit from a restructured and integrated system of school accountability with proposals in the Michigan Department of Education's (MDE) request to waive portions of the decade-old federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB).
Last September, President Barack Obama and the U.S. Department of Education invited states to request flexibility to the federal law in order to better focus on improving student learning and increasing the quality of instruction.
"For months, we've worked with education leaders, practitioners, parents, students, and community members to develop a waiver application that strengthens accountability and provides schools and districts with the flexibility they need to better support teachers and students," said Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan, who attended the President's NCLB flexibility announcement last September in Washington, D.C.
Michigan is requesting waivers allowing flexibility on a number of ESEA requirements, including:
- Establishing Annual Measurable Objectives to determine Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP);
- Identification of schools or districts for improvement or corrective action;
- Participation and use of funds for rural schools and districts;
- School-wide programs;
- Allocating federal school improvement funds;
- Use of federal funds for Reward Schools;
- Highly Qualified Teacher improvement plans;
- The transfer of certain federal funds; and
- Use of School Improvement Grant (SIG) funds to support priority schools
The state's waiver request is integrated with current statutory requirements, and effective school improvement practices. It builds on the implementation of Michigan's career- and college-ready standards and assessments; provides achievable but rigorous objectives that move students rapidly toward academic proficiency; establishes a new, stronger accountability structure; strengthens teacher and principal evaluation and support; and removes unnecessary or burdensome state rules and regulations.
"This new structure will offer more thorough, diagnostic support to schools that are working to deliver strong student performance results," Flanagan said.
Flanagan said a new report card also will be implemented that will hold schools accountable for not only their performance results, but also for their achievement gaps.
If approved, the current mandated federal formula used to determine Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) would be replaced with new ambitious yet achievable measures using career-and college-ready standards.
The MDE now will begin work with the USED on the waiver approval process.
For additional information on Michigan's ESEA Waiver request including a Waiver Request Summary and Wavier Request Submission, please visit http://www.michigan.gov/mde/0,4615,7-140-37818_60094---,00.html.