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Kerry: Massachusetts Receives Flexibility to Continue to Lead in Education Reform

Press Release

Location: Boston, MA

Senator John Kerry today applauded the announcement that Massachusetts will be one of ten states granted a waiver and the flexibility from the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law so it can continue to out-innovate other states in raising achievement. In exchange for this flexibility, these states have agreed to raise standards, improve accountability, and undertake essential reforms.

Criticized for rigid metrics that don't result in learning gains and underfunding, all 50 states have struggled to meet NCLB standards. The administration today awarded ten waivers to leading states that demonstrate their own innovative, dynamic methods of improving student outcomes. This waiver will allow Massachusetts to continue to drive its rigorous, state-developed education plan.

"We've pushed for this waiver a long time so we can continue to out-innovate other states in education reform. I asked Secretary Duncan to come to Massachusetts earlier this week to talk about the pioneering steps we must take to give all our students a world class education and help our colleges graduate students who can out-compete our global rivals. I'm grateful to Secretary Duncan and President Obama for this flexibility so Massachusetts can continue to lead the way."

In October, Senator Kerry worked with state leaders to submit an 85-page application highlighting Massachusetts' exemplary education standards and requesting national recognition and consent for the state to continue to drive its schools' curriculums and reforms. This waiver provides flexibility regarding certain requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) also known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

To qualify for the waiver, states must:

demonstrate that it has college- and career-ready expectations for all students;
develop and have a high-quality plan to implement a system of differentiated recognition, accountability, and support for all districts;
commit to develop, adopt, pilot, and implement teacher and principal evaluation and support systems that meet certain specified requirements; and
assure that it will evaluate and, based on that evaluation, revise its administrative requirements to reduce duplication and unnecessary burden on districts and schools.

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