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W.Va. Seeks Public Comment on Flexibility Request

August 10, 2012

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Board of Education is seeking public comment on a proposal seeking relief from certain provisions of federal education law.

During their August meeting, board members heard details about a proposed flexibility request of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as the No Child Left Behind Act. Work on the request is being guided by the Accountability and Accreditation Stakeholder Committee, which includes representatives of the board, superintendents, principals, parents, teachers, teacher organizations and others. The proposal will remain on public comment until Aug. 31. If approved by the U.S. Department of Education, the waiver would free West Virginia public schools from certain federal rules and deadlines to focus on improving learning and instruction.

“We believe this request will increase the quality of instruction and enhance student achievement by providing much needed flexibility,” said West Virginia Superintendent Jorea Marple. “The plan will give us more freedom so that we can personalize learning in every classroom and at every programmatic level and truly measure those things we value for West Virginia children.”

The Obama administration developed the flexibility process last year after Congress failed to reauthorize ESEA, which has been due for reauthorization since 2007. In exchange for flexibility, states must show detailed plans for preparing all students for college and careers, targeting federal aid to students most in need, and pushing for better evaluation and support of teachers and principals. West Virginia announced in February its intention to apply for flexibility and will submit its request in September.

The flexibility request requires the West Virginia Department of Education to develop a rigorous and comprehensive plan designed to improve educational outcomes for all students, close achievement gaps, increase equity and improve the quality of instruction. West Virginia already has adopted and is implementing Next Generation Content Standards and Objectives, which incorporate and build upon what many other states call the Common Core State Standards.

"The best ideas to meet the needs of individual students are going to come from the local level,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a news release. “These plans will protect children, raise the bar and give states the freedom to implement reforms that improve student achievement.”

Educators, parents and community members are encouraged to review and provide comment on the proposed flexibility request. The request can be viewed on the West Virginia Department of Education website at http://wvde.state.wv.us/policies/esea.html.

For more information, contact the Office of Communication at (304) 558-2699.

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