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Improved student achievement for all kids is the underpinning of Michigan’s plan for flexibility to the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law, approved today by the U.S. Department of Education.
“This is great news for our students and our schools,” said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan. “This approved flexibility to No Child Left Behind will help us continue our efforts to get all kids career- and college-ready, and close the achievement gap between various student populations.”
A high-level summary of the ESEA/NCLB provisions waived by this Flexibility Request approval is available at: http://www.michigan.gov/mde/0,4615,7-140-37818_60094---,00.html. Each of the affected provisions falls within three principle areas:
- Career- and College-Ready Expectations for All Students; \
- State-Developed Differentiated Recognition, Accountability, and Support; and
- Supporting Effective Instruction and Leadership.
The primary benefits for Michigan’s schools and students are: the elimination of the NCLB timeline to attain 100 percent student proficiency by 2014 (in exchange for ambitious but achievable annual targets), a departure from the NCLB “one size fits all” interventions for identified schools, and more flexibility in the use of federal funds.
Read the Full MDE Memo: click here
In a press release from the Michigan Department of Education (MDE), Flanagan thanked United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan for providing states the flexibility from the restrictions of NCLB, while still focusing on student achievement, accountability, and transparency.
“We are establishing ambitious, yet achievable, targets on student academic progress for schools to reach every year,” Flanagan said. “Schools need to know where they really are in getting all of their students to be successful academically, and be allowed to implement targeted and effective programs that best suit the needs of their students.”
The press release calls Michigan a national leader in pursuing career- and college-readiness for all students, with the rigorous Michigan Merit Curriculum; Michigan Merit Exam, which includes the college entrance ACT exam; and career- and college-ready measurements on its state MEAP tests.
“We went to bat for local school districts because we know they are working hard to improve student achievement, but needed this flexibility from the ‘one-size-fits-all’ structure of No Child Left Behind,” Flanagan said. “We’ve gotten them the flexibility and assistance, but in return, are raising expectations and transparency. The end result will be higher achievement levels for all students and a greater future for Michigan.”
This flexibility approval will allow local school districts more freedom in how they use some of their federal dollars to improve student achievement and close achievement gaps; recognize schools that are meeting or exceeding achievement goals; ensure students have effective educators in their schools; and include in the school accountability scorecard: science, social studies, and writing, in addition to the NCLB-required math and English language arts.