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U.S. Department of Education Approves Extensions for States Granted Flexibility from No Child Left Behind

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The U.S. Department of Education announced today that six states - Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Nevada, South Dakota and Virginia - have 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).

These extensions allow states to move forward with the critical work of implementing the bold reforms they committed to in their original ESEA flexibility requests--which expire this summer--with the ultimate goal of improving achievement for all students.

"ESEA flexibility has allowed states to move beyond the one-size-fits-all mandates of NCLB, to be more innovative, and to engage in continued improvement in ways that benefit educators and students," U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. "As a result, we have seen a renewed focus by states on improving student achievement, and to address the needs of all students, especially those groups of students that have been historically underserved."

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 adopting college- and career-ready expectations for all students; creating accountability systems that target the lowest-performing schools, schools with the largest achievement gaps, and other schools that are not meeting targets for at-risk students; and developing and implementing teacher and principal evaluation and support systems that take into account student growth--among multiple measures--and are used to help teachers and principals improve their practices.

This one-year extension of ESEA flexibility allows states to continue moving forward on the ambitious work they began with their initial flexibility requests. 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 and anticipates approving additional extension requests over the next several weeks.

Forty-three states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico currently have ESEA flexibility, 35 of which expire this summer. Of those, 29 have submitted an extension request. For more information about ESEA flexibility extensions, visit http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/esea-flexibility/index.html.


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