A call for ESEA flexibility feedback

Author icon: Head shot of Commissioner Stephen Bowen

This week, in addition to the usual updates about our work, I will ask for something from you. The September 2012 deadline to request flexibility from the federal government in Maine’s implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act (or Elementary and Secondary Education Act) is growing nearer, and we at the Department need your feedback to develop our proposal.

On Tuesday, we launched the ESEA Flexibility web page, providing a host of information aimed to keep you informed as we enter the final phases of developing and submitting our request. From this page, you can view meeting agendas, materials and notes for the newly established steering committee and three work groups—in fact, all of the materials that work group members see and create will be found here. Additional resources and ways to contribute are also highlighted, so you can stay informed as well as share your ideas for crafting legitimate measures of student performance.

As a state, we’ve been tackling this project since September 2011, when the opportunity to seek flexibility and waivers was first announced. Our goal is to foster better educational results for every single student in Maine, rather than the singular focus on the outcomes of yearly targets that are both unrealistic and unfair—measures that fail to show how students can learn better.

In the upcoming weeks, these work groups will meet to discuss ESEA flexibility and develop our proposal. In the meantime, we want to hear your suggestions and comments. How should we measure and report academic growth? What incentives should be available to “reward” schools? In short, how can we support all schools in constantly improving outcomes for students, and fairly hold them accountable for those improvements?

The system we’re creating will have profound impact on Maine students’ success and on the educators responsible for getting them there. With your help, we’ll develop something that works for Maine.

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