Department continues to seek feedback on ESEA waiver in advance of renewal

In preparation for Maine’s application for a renewal of its existing ESEA waiver, the Department continues to seek feedback on how the State’s current accountability and improvement system is serving Maine’s students and schools.

In 2013, the U.S. Department of Education approved Maine’s application for flexibility under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (or No Child Left Behind). The approved flexibility allows Maine to move forward with State and local reforms designed to improve the academic achievement and increase the quality of instruction for all students in a manner that was not originally contemplated by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The two-year waiver is set to expire this year and so Maine must submit an application for its renewal that demonstrates the Maine DOE continues to meet the requirements of the flexibility guidance put forward by the U.S. DOE.

As the Department finalizes that renewal application, it continues to solicit comments as to how the current plan measures and reports academic growth. Suggestions on how the Maine DOE can better support all schools in constantly improving outcomes for students and fairly hold them accountable for those improvements are still encouraged. Feedback can be submitted using the comment form below, via this survey or be sent directly to Department Title I Program Director Janette Kirk at janette.kirk@maine.gov.

In the meantime, the Department has received notification from U.S. DOE that its current waiver is in jeopardy as Maine is not meeting federal guidelines for ESEA flexibility as it relates to teacher and principal evaluation and support systems. At greatest issue is that while the State’s rules do require that student learning and growth measures be a “significant” factor in the determination of the effectiveness rating of an educator (see section 7 in the rules), they do not require the State assessment be considered as one of those measures. In response, the Department has drafted a bill that would revise both the State statute and rules so they are aligned with the U.S.  DOE’s requirements that will be heard by the Legislature’s Education Committee early this month.

For more information about Maine’s ESEA waiver and accountability and improvement system, visit www.maine.gov/doe/accountability.