In a US Department of Education (USDOE) Dear Colleague letter to state chiefs on February 22nd, 2021, USDOE provided guidance and invited states to apply for waivers granting significant flexibility in the areas of accountability and reporting for the 2020-2021 school year. Following this guidance and flexibility, the Maine Department of Education (DOE) is requesting accountability and reporting waivers pursuant to §8401(b) from requirements within the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015). USDOE requires state educational agencies, when seeking waivers from statutory or regulatory requirements, to solicit and respond to public comment on the request and provide evidence of the available comment period. This 14-day public comment period will be available from April 27, 2021- May 10, 2021.
A full copy of the waiver request can be located on the Maine DOE’s ESSA webpage. In summary, the Maine Department of Education will be requesting waivers from the following requirements:
- Accountability and school identification requirements in ESEA sections 1111(c)(4) and 1111(d)(2)(C)-(D): the requirements that a State measure progress toward long-term goals and measurements of interim progress; meaningfully differentiate, on an annual basis, all public schools, including by adjusting the Academic Achievement indicator based on a participation rate below 95 percent; and identify schools for comprehensive, targeted, and additional targeted support and improvement based on data from the 2020- 2021 school year.
- Report card provisions related to accountability in ESEA section 1111(h) based on data from the 2020-2021 school year. These include:
- Section 1111(h)(1)(C)(i)(I)-(IV) and (VI) (Accountability system description, other than the list of comprehensive, targeted, and additional targeted support and improvement schools).
- Section 1111(h)(1)(C)(iii)(I) (Other Academic indicator results for schools that are not high schools).
- Section 1111(h)(1)(C)(v) (School Quality or Student Success indicator results).
- Section 1111(h)(1)(C)(vi) (Progress toward meeting long-terms goals and measurements of interim progress).
- Section 1111(h)(2)(C) with respect, at the local educational agency (LEA) and school levels, to all waived requirements in section 1111(h)(1)(C).