U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has cleared four states to participate in the Education Flexibility program, which will allow them to waive certain federal requirements so school districts can pilot new approaches.
Massachusetts, North Carolina, Texas, and Vermont will have new authority under the program, which is also known as Ed-Flex, DeVos announced Friday, though the U.S. Department of Education’s website says some were cleared to participate late last year.
Ed-Flex predates the current administration. The authority was first created under a 1994 demonstration program and later extended under the Every Student Succeeds Act, the newest version of the federal education law that passed in 2015.
To qualify for Ed-Flex, states must demonstrate that they have challenging academic standards, that they have assessments aligned to those standards, and that they have plans to hold participating school systems accountable for the achievement of their students. The flexibility allows them to waive certain requirements under Title I, which relates to students from low-income homes; Title II, which relates to educator preparation; and the Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants under Title IV.
Here is how the Education Department described the participating states’ plans:
- Massachusetts will “enhance educator recruitment and licensure.”
- North Carolina will “address class size, school year schedule, and funding to schools in areas of need.”
- Texas will “provide flexibility around staff development requirements, teacher certification and attendance requirements.”
- Vermont “enhance school districts’ ability to implement long-term improvement initiatives.”