ESSA/ESEA | ESSA/ESEA Flexibility Waivers
In December 2015, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into law. ESSA is the new Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) that replaces No Child Left Behind. Traditionally the ESEA has defined the national English Language Arts (ELA) and Math, performance standards and high school graduation rate targets for schools that receive Federal educational funding. Part of this law provides federal funding for the education of low income students which is detailed under Title I. Federal and NYCDOE information on parent/guardian rights and responsibilities under Title I are respectively detailed on the USDE website and in this document. Additional information regarding staff development and training for extra academic assistance for low income students and English Language Learners are respectively detailed under Title II and Title III of the law.
Under ESSA states have the right to define the educational standards that their districts and schools must meet. Therefore, USDE informed the NYS Education Department (SED) that it must receive approval for a new ESSA accountability plan to be in place for the 2017-18 school year and can continue to follow the rules and procedures of its ESEA flexibility waiver renewal through the 2016-17 school year.
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NYSED’s first ESEA flexibility waiver started in school year 2011-12 and ended in school year 2013-14. USDE advised NYSED that it could request a renewal of its ESEA flexibility waiver for the period from 2015-16 through 2017-18 school years. On June 23, 2015, the USDE approved New York State's ESEA flexibility waiver renewal request for the 2015-16 through 2018-19 school years. Some highlights of the NYSED ESEA flexibility renewal include:
- Establish Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs)/targets that do not require that all students by no later than the 2013-14 school year become proficient in English language arts and mathematics.
- Replace the identification of low performing schools and districts for improvement, corrective action, and restructuring based on failure to make Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) with the identification of Priority Schools and Focus Schools and Districts.
- Revise the consequences for identified schools and districts, including eliminating the requirements that funds be set aside in identified schools and districts to support programs of supplemental educational services and teacher professional development plans.
- Waive the requirement that a school have a poverty percentage of 40 percent or more to become a schoolwide program.
- Allow the use of 1003(a) school improvement funds to provide grants to Title I Reward Schools and Local Assistance Plan Schools.
- Allow districts not to test students on mathematics assessments in grade 7 and 8, if the students take Regents math examinations in those grade levels.
- Allow 21st Century Community Learning Center funds to support expanded learning time both during the school day and when school is not in session.
- Waive the requirement that districts develop improvement plans regarding highly qualified teachers.
- Allow districts to transfer up to 100 percent of funds from certain programs into Title I.
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