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Since the U.S. Department of Education introduced a formal process in August 2011 for waiving NCLB/ESEA requirements, the national landscape of states with approved waivers has changed almost continually. The dynamic map below shows the evolving status of NCLB/ESEA waivers in each state that applied or considered applying for a waiver. In monthly time increments, the map documents submissions, withdrawals, denials, approvals, and extensions of NCLB/ESEA waiver applications. As the snapshots over time make clear, some states were quick to submit applications and receive waivers, while others waited or opted out altogether.
Many states’ waivers expired at the end of the 2013-2014 academic year, and some have been extended through 2014-2015. Others will expire soon. The map will be updated to reflect additional changes as states are granted extensions, receive warnings they are at high risk of losing their waivers, or have their waivers revoked.
For more information about each states’ waiver process, links to documents, and news from the states, click on the map below. [Updated on February 17, 2015] The page and map are updated with links as they are made public, so check this page frequently for the most current information.
When President Obama directed Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on August 8, 2011, to “move forward with plans to provide flexibility to states” looking for greater relief under the No Child Left Behind law, the Center on Education Policy began tracking flexibility developments. This page contains up-to-date information about the federal government's decision to offer regulatory flexibility from certain provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), most recently amended in 2002 by the No Child Left Behind Act. To learn more about this process and authority, see the CEP papers “Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Secretary of Education's Plan to Waive Major ESEA Requirements” (**updated 2/17/12**) and "Frequently Asked Questions About State Accountability Plans and Their Relationship to Waivers" and visit the Useful Resources page.
While some states had applied for flexibility prior to President Obama's announcement, his statement on September 23, 2011, established a formal process under which states could apply for flexibility from certain provisions of NCLB/ESEA. According to the U.S. Department of Education's website, states were asked to inform the Department by October 12, 2011, if they intended to apply for flexibility and for which deadline they would submit their application. To learn more about flexibility before the formal process was in place, visit our page Information on Flexibility PRIOR to October 12, 2011.
Click on each state for a record of the waiver process and latest developments in that state
**For a summary and analysis of the waiver applications and related reports, please see the Related CEP Papers posted on this page.**
|Timeline of Federal Announcements|
U.S. Department of Education approves ESEA flexibility renewals for 7 states--Alaska, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon, Tennessee, & Utah.
|July 23, 2015|
U.S. Department of Education approves ESEA flexibility renewals for 5 states--Delaware, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, & South Carolina--and Puerto Rico
|July 9, 2015|
U.S. Department of Education approves ESEA flexiblity renewal for 7 states--Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada, New York, & West Virginia--and D.C.
|June 23, 2015|
Seven states, including Florida, Kentucky, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia are fast tracked by the U.S. Department of Education for waiver renewal under the new guidance
|November 25, 2014|
U.S. Department of Education announces states could seek waiver renewals in spring 2015 that would extend through the end of the 2017-2018 school year, and releases guidance for this new round
|November 14, 2014|
U.S. Department of Education notifies state education chiefs that the Department will offer targeted flexibility (for one year) to states that need extra support in meeting the requirements of Principle 3 (supporting effective instruction and leadership). The Department will also grant longer waiver extensions to states that meet the requirements of Principle 3 in the 2014-15 school year
|July 2, 2014|
U.S. Department of Education notifies state education chiefs that the Department will make waiver extension decisions based on states' progress towards Principle 1 (college and career-ready expectations for all students) and Principle 2 (state developed differentiated recognition, accountability, and support) and will separately review state actions around Principle 3 (supporting effective instruction and leadership) to determine if adequate progress is being made in the development and implementation of teacher and principal evaluation systems
|May 9, 2014|
U.S. Department of Education announces several changes to the waiver renewal process first promulgated in August 2013. For example, according to the November announcement, states’ renewal applications will no longer be required to show that states are using evidence-based approaches to professional development services funded by ESEA Title II funds, nor will states have to use information from teacher evaluation systems to make determinations about whether poor and minority students receive instruction from less-effective teachers at higher rates than other students. In addition, the waiver renewals will be valid for one year, rather than the original two-year extension proposed in August 2013
|November 14, 2013|
U.S. Department of Education announces that states whose approved waivers will expire in 2013-14 are eligible to request renewals
|August 29, 2013|
U.S. Department of Education releases a set of materials that provides an overview of the waiver process, including a brochure and five companion fact sheets. These and other related materials are posted online at http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/esea-flexibility/
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Other Waiver Watch Pages:
On March 4th, 2013 the Center on Education Policy (CEP) at the George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development released States' Perspectives on Waivers: Relief from NCLB, Concern about Long-term Solutions, a state survey report offering insight on states' early experiences with No Child Left Behind waivers.
On March 14, 2013 CEP held an event to discuss the findings of this report by key thought leaders and representatives from the U.S. Department of Education and Capitol Hill. The first panel addressed the impact of the waivers on student learning, teacher evaluation, Common Core State Standards, and other critical policy decisions. The second panel debated the implications of the waivers on the pending reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. More than 80 attendees from education & policy organizations participated in the event.
Program and Panelists
Welcoming remarks and moderator: Maria Ferguson, Executive Director, CEP
Review of findings from CEP Report: Jennifer McMurrer, Senior Research Associate, CEP
Panel I Federal Waivers: State Planning and Impact
Panel II Federal Waivers and ESEA reauthorization
Brad Thomas, Senior Education Policy Advisory, U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce
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.View Report
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.View Report
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.View Report
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.View Report
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.View Report
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.View Report
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.View Report