The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) recently announced that they have submitted an application for flexibility under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). If the application is approved by the U.S. Department of Education, Arizona’s schools will be better able to allocate limited resources and meet the unique needs of the state’s diverse student population.
Arizona seeks to move toward a singular, unified school evaluation system (A-F school letter grades), which will help parents, teachers, and administrators gain a better understanding of a school’s academic performance.
The Arizona Department of Education believes that the flexibility waver will also help the department change from a compliance bureaucracy into an education support center that streamlines duplicative processes, increases transparency and provides world-class service to all of its education stakeholders.
In order to gain an ESEA flexibility waver, the ADE will meet the following expectations laid out by the Obama administration and the U.S. department of Education:
1. Adopt and implement college- and career-ready standards and aligned assessments.
2. Develop and implement a system of differentiated recognition, accountability and support.
3. Develop and implement a system of teacher and principal evaluations.
4. Evaluate and revise, as necessary, a state education agency’s own administrative requirements to reduce duplication and unnecessary burden on local education agencies (school districts and charter schools).
State officials at all levels of government have voiced their support for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act flexibility waiver:
“I applaud Superintendent Huppenthal for seeking this waiver, and will continue to champion innovation, efficiency and accountability in education,” said Governor Jan Brewer. “Receipt of this waiver will grant Arizona the flexibility necessary to help ensure that regulations and bureaucracy don’t stand in the way of student achievement.”
The plan is also endorsed by Jaime Molera, president of the State Board of Education. “Once approved, this waiver will grant Arizona the flexibility necessary to minimize duplicative and burdensome federal requirements, and allow the K-12 community to place greater emphasis on the needs of individual students.”
For more information on Arizona’s application for ESEA flexibility, visit azed.gov/eseawaiver.