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ESEA Waivers: A New Phase in Accountability

February 10, 2012 by Kerri L. Briggs

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) waivers announced by President Obama yesterday provide opportunities for 10 states to approach accountability in new ways. With these waivers finalized, we are embarking on a new phase in accountability. We remember the inconsistent focus on all students prior to No Child Left Behind (NCLB), and we know that significant progress was made over the last 10 years to improve data, assessments, school reform, and accountability. We are interested to see what is in these approved plans, and are expectant that, as this new phase begins, the concerns we raised a month ago have been addressed (see the attached brief for a summary of those concerns). We hope these plans hold steadfast on the belief that all students deserve access to quality education, schools need to be held accountable when they don’t deliver on this promise, and excellence should be rewarded and recognized. Ultimately, we must remain vigilant about closing the achievement gaps between student subgroups and moving all students forward. As new state accountability systems are built, the Bush Institute will be analyzing these systems to promote transparency, and has offered to work with states to advance accountability.  The principles we’ll use to guide our efforts are also in the attached brief.

This post written by Kerri Briggs, Director of Education Reform at the George W. Bush Institute.