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Press Release: Maryland Receives New Flexibility From NCLB Requirements To Support Improvements

For Immediate Release                                          Contact: John L.White, 410-767-0439

Baltimore, MD (July 22, 2014)

The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) announced today that it has received approval of a one-year extension of flexibility from certain provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The U.S. Department of Education approved the extension of MSDE’s original waiver request, which was scheduled to expire this summer, supporting implementation of Maryland’s comprehensive plan to improve instruction and learning for all students.

MSDE received approval to continue moving forward in two of three principles addressed in its request for flexibility – college and career-ready expectations for all students and state-developed differentiated recognition, accountability, and support for schools. Federal officials also agreed to continue working with Maryland on implementation of new teacher and principal evaluation and support systems. 

“Maryland is committed to preparing world-class students with more rigorous standards, meaningful assessment, and continuous support for educators,” said Maryland State Superintendent Lillian M. Lowery. “We have been granted a hold-harmless year during these transitions to ensure educators and students are supported and the implementation is done well.”

The ESEA was due for Congressional reauthorization in 2007. In the absence of reauthorization, President Obama announced in September 2011 that the administration would grant waivers from parts of the law to states in exchange for adopting college- and career-ready standards 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 improving teacher and principal evaluation and support systems.

This one-year extension of ESEA flexibility allows Maryland to continue moving forward on the ambitious work that began with its initial flexibility request made in 2012.  The extension is through the 2014-2015 school year. The Department is reviewing requests from states for extensions to ESEA flexibility annually.

The approval letter granting amendments to Maryland’s ESEA Flexibility request includes criteria for Reward Schools, Priority Schools and Focus Schools within the state’s School Progress Index.

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