The U.S. Department of Education announced Tuesday that Maryland is one of eight new states that has been granted flexibility from some of the long-standing requirements of No Child Left Behind.
Under the ruling, Maryland will be able to focus on rewarding those schools making improvement and distribute resources to help all schools move forward. The state’s flexibility plan runs parallel with Maryland’s Race to the Top project, and its efforts to strengthen educator evaluation and incorporation of student growth measures into that process.
Interim state superintendent Bernard Sadusky said the welcome announcement will allow Maryland to provide stronger tools in the state’s long-running efforts to improve schools.
“Federal officials are allowing Maryland to concentrate efforts on those schools in greatest need of assistance,” Dr. Sadusky said. “We are not turning our back on accountability, and will continue to work to make certain all schools and students improve. At the same time, we are pleased the U.S. Department of Education will allow us to funnel resources into those classrooms with the most vexing issues.”
Under the flexibility plan, the state will reset the annual progress goals for the next six years on a trajectory toward 2017, at which time each individual school is expected to reduce its percentage of non-proficient students by half – for each subgroup as well as for all students. The flexibility proposal also will give Maryland some room regarding how it recognizes those schools that are making progress, and how it focuses attention on those schools in need of intervention.