Congressman Bill Owens applauded a recent decision by the federal government to provide waivers for New York State from the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). The waivers are for two years through the end of the 2014-2015 school year.
"New York's successful application for these waivers is a big win for local school districts in our region," said Owens. "When the direction of public schools is left up to parents, school boards, teachers and local administrations, New York students receive a better overall education. I thank Governor Cuomo's office for his leadership in constructing a thoughtful plan that will ultimately enhance the quality of education available to our kids."
Last fall, the U.S. Department of Education offered states the opportunity to request waivers from certain requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) as amended by NCLB. New York submitted a request for waivers on February 28th, and was approved by the U.S. Department of Education on May 29th. New York can request an extension after 2014.
Several flexibilities school districts will now enjoy are detailed below, as provided by the New York State Education Department.
Flexibility to Transfer Certain Funds: A school district has flexibility to transfer up to 100 percent of the funds received under the authorized programs designated in ESEA section 6123 (e.g., Title II) among those programs and into Title I, Part A. Moreover, to minimize burden, school districts will not be required to notify the NYSED prior to transferring funds.
Flexibility for Schoolwide Programs: A school district has flexibility to operate a schoolwide program in a Title I school that does not meet the 40 percent poverty threshold if the school is a Priority School or a Focus School, and the district is implementing interventions consistent with the turnaround principles or interventions that are based on the needs of the students in the school and designed to enhance the entire educational program in the school.
Flexibility Regarding Highly Qualified Teacher (HQT) Improvement Plans: A school district that does not meet its HQT targets no longer has to develop an improvement plan and has flexibility in how it uses its Title I and Title II funds. This flexibility allows districts to focus on developing and implementing more meaningful evaluation and support systems.
Flexibility for Rural school districts: A school district that receives Small, Rural School Achievement Program funds or Rural and Low-Income School Program funds has flexibility under ESEA sections 6213(b) and 6224(e) to use those funds for any authorized purpose, regardless of the district's annual yearly progress status.
Flexibility in the Use of Twenty-First Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Program Funds: A school district with an approved grant has flexibility as approved by NYSED to use those funds to support expanded learning time during the school day in addition to activities during non-school hours or periods when school is not in session (i.e., before and after school or during summer recess).
Flexibility To Serve Non-Title I Priority High Schools: A school district has flexibility to serve a Title I-eligible high school with a graduation rate below 60 percent that has been identified as a Priority School, even if that school does not otherwise rank sufficiently high in terms of need to be served.