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ESEA Federal Flexibility Waiver

History and Purpose:

In 2001, the United States Congress passed the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) that issued across the board requirements that States had to follow in order to receive federal funding. The US Department of Education (USED) presented an option to states to apply for "flexibility" from some specific requirements of No Child Left Behind in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) exchange for rigorous and comprehensive state-developed plans designed to improve education outcomes for all students, close achievement gaps, increase equity and improve the quality of instruction.

In 2012, Oregon applied for and received USED approval of the ESEA Flexibility waiver, providing the opportunity to craft a state-specific plan for education. Under the leadership of the Governor and the Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction, Oregon is implementing the plan and has revised portions of the waiver.

Oregon’s current ESEA Flexibility waiver for No Child Left Behind will expire at the end of the 2014-2015 school year. The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) submitted a request for a three-year renewal of Oregon’s ESEA waiver on March 30, 2015.

With the waiver renewal, the USED continues to require states to demonstrate commitment to the same core principles of ESEA Flexibility listed below that have been the underpinning of waivers since their introduction in 2011:
    1. Implementing college and career ready standards and high-quality, aligned assessments for all students
    2. Implementing state-developed systems of differentiated recognition, accountability, and support
    3. Supporting effective instruction and leadership through educator evaluation and support systems
The elements of the waiver, combined with Oregon’s state-mandated priority initiatives, are moving Oregon educators toward a strong and effective college and career ready system, incorporating programs, resources, and assessments for students from pre-kindergarten through adulthood. The Common Core State Standards, Smarter Balanced Assessment, an improved school accountability system, and a new framework for educator effectiveness and evaluation are some of the major elements featured in the waiver.

Links to Additional Background Information

Presentation made by ODE staff to the 2015 ESEA Flexibility Stakeholder Advisory Group on February 12, 2015 outlining key decisions points for the 2015 waiver renewal.

ESEA Flexibility Waiver 2013 - 14

  • ESEA Flexibility Advisory
    During 2013-14, the Deputy Superintendent convened an ESEA Flexibility Advisory group to give input and recommendations on elements of the waiver. The group will continue to meet on an ongoing and as needed basis.
  • Oregon's Approved ESEA Flexibility Waiver Application Approved October 9, 2014.
    Oregon has revised elements of its teacher and leader effectiveness system in collaboration with districts and other educational partners.

ESEA Flexibility Waiver 2012 - 13

Original ESEA Flexibility Process 2011 - 12

The ESEA Flexibility waiver includes a framework for school accountability consistent with broader efforts, led by the Governor and the Oregon Education Investment Board (OEIB) to establish a seamless, outcomes-focused system of public education.

Many of the details and recommendations advanced in the waiver were developed by four ESEA workgroups, convened by the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) and the Governor’s Office the latter part of 2011. The participants in this process, which included approximately 100 Oregon educators (superintendents, district administrators, teachers, representatives of various stakeholder organizations, ODE, and Governor’s office staff), contributed hundreds of hours engaging in research, discussion, and debate around the four waiver principles:
  • Workgroup 1 – College and Career Ready Outcomes Incorporating Data for Decision-Making
  • Workgroup 2 – Teacher and Leader Effectiveness
  • Workgroup 3 – Tiered System of Flexibility, Interventions, and Supports
  • Workgroup 4 – System Evaluation and Continuous Improvement
Oregon’s original waiver was approved in July 2012. Since then, revisions have been made as we continue to improve on plans and implementation of such elements as the Common Core State Standards, Smarter Balanced Assessments, supports and interventions for low performing schools, and a state-wide educator evaluation system. The process has been informed by ongoing stakeholder groups, thousands of responses to online surveys conducted by ODE and the Governor’s office, and public comment received with each revision to the waiver.

USED Documents

Components of the ESEA Flexibility Waiver

The following links lead to the most up to date news, resources, and documents regarding the content of Oregon’s ESEA Flexibility as ODE, along with our partners, implements each portion.

Principle 1
Common Core State Standards (CCSS)

Moving to common standards in two content areas represents a major change for Oregon. ODE and its educational partners are committed to providing educators with the tools they need to understand and implement the CCSS.

Principle 1
College and Career Ready Assessments

Oregon is transitioning from the Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (OAKS) to Smarter Balanced Assessment. This page gives information about Smarter Balanced and other Oregon assessments.

Principle 2
District and School Accountability System

The waiver outlines Oregon’s revised accountability and rating system, incorporating student growth.

Principle 2
Oregon's Priority, Focus, and Model Schools

Access resources and documents relating to Oregon’s Priority, Focus, and Model School designations.

Principle 3
Educator Effectiveness

Together, Oregon partners and stakeholders are developing a comprehensive educator effectiveness system spanning the career continuum of teachers and leaders, including preparation, licensing, induction, mentoring, professional learning, and educator evaluation


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