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Federal Education Programs » NCLB/ESEA Waivers » Related CEP Papers

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States’ Perspectives on Waivers: Relief from NCLB, Concern about Long-term Solutions

Author(s): Jennifer McMurrer and Nanami Yoshioka
Published: March 4, 2013

This report describes states’ early experiences in applying for flexibility from key requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as NCLB waivers, and their plans for implementing the new systems outlined in their applications.  Findings from the 38 survey states indicate states believe that the waivers address several of the problems they see with the NCLB accountability requirements, however, many state officials are concerned about what will happen to the programs and policies in their waiver plans if ESEA is reauthorized. These and other key findings that emerged from the survey results are presented in this report.

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NCLB Waivers and Accountability

Author(s): Wayne Riddle and Nancy Kober
Published: October 2, 2012

These two reports examine issues related to the accountability systems that approved waiver states have created with the Obama Administration's No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) waiver requirements. The first report, What Impact Will NCLB Waivers Have on the Consistency, Complexity, and Transparency of State Accountability Systems?, compares the new accountability provisions in the waiver states with those in the NCLB statute. The report focuses on the complexity, transparency, and consistency of the new accountability systems in the waiver states, both on their own terms and in comparison with the NCLB statutory requirements. The second report, Accountability Issues to Watch under NCLB Waivers, highlights issues to lookout for over the next few years as states with waivers implement new accountability systems. For each of the issues discussed, the possible implications for public education systems, teachers, and students are considered.

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Major Accountability Themes of Second-Round State Applications for NCLB Waivers

Author(s): Wayne Riddle
Published: May 8, 2012

This report analyzes the NCLB waiver applications submitted in the second round by 26 states and Washington, D.C. to the U.S. Department of Education in February 2012. Among the findings in the report is that, like the first round of applications, these states are proposing new accountability systems that will lead to greater complexity both within states and between states, but at the same time will be more integrated with states’ own existing accountability systems. Also, nearly all the state applications propose annual achievement targets and performance levels that are more nuanced than what is currently in place under NCLB. At the same time, 19 of the 27 applications analyzed will use a combined subgroup for accountability decisions, rather than all of the student subgroups mandated under NCLB. None of the states analyzed will continue to require school choice and SES in schools identified for improvement, as is currently mandated.

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Major Accountability Themes of Approved State Applications for NCLB Waivers

Author(s): Wayne Riddle
Published: March 8, 2012

This report analyzes the NCLB waiver applications submitted by the first 11 states to the U.S. Department of Education in November 2011. Among the findings in the report are that these states are proposing new and complex accountability systems which they assert will respond to local needs and better identify schools that need assistance.  Also, nearly all the state applications would base accountability decisions on the achievement of just two student groups: all students and a single “disadvantaged” group. This is a departure from the current NCLB policy, which holds schools accountable for the performance of numerous subgroups of students, ranging from major racial and ethnic groups to students with disabilities.

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Preliminary Findings about Waivers: CEP Survey of State Education Agency Officials

Author(s): Diane Stark Rentner and Nancy Kober
Published: December 20, 2011

In the fall of 2011, CEP surveyed state education agency officials about the need for waivers of the accountability provisions under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act. The state officials surveyed said the waivers are greatly needed and generally agree that the four principles that must be met in order for a state to receive a waiver will improve student learning in their state.

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Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Secretary of Education’s Plan to Waive Major ESEA Requirements

Author(s): Wayne Riddle
Published: September 29, 2011

This document answers some frequently asked questions about the U. S. Secretary of Education’s authority to grant waivers of Elementary and Secondary Education Act requirements, including how that process works under current provisions, which requirements can currently be waived, and how often this authority has been used in the past.

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Frequently Asked Questions about State Accountability Plans and Their Relationship to Waivers

Author(s): Wayne Riddle
Published: September 16, 2011

This document answers some frequently asked questions about accountability plans that states are required to develop under the No Child Left Behind Act. These plans outline each state’s policies for implementing NCLB’s accountability provisions and timelines for meeting student achievement goals, including the goal of all students reaching proficiency by school year 2013-14. U.S. Department of Education approval of state amendments to these accountability plans is another way for federal government to give states some flexibility in implementing certain NCLB provisions.

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