Obama Administration Approves ESEA Flexibility for Eleven States

On February 9th, the Obama Administration announced the approval of “waivers” for eleven states, including three states where Citizen Schools runs programs, that applied to receive flexibility from certain provisions under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, formally known as No Child Left Behind). Citizen Schools was pleased that eight out of the eleven states chose an optional waiver allowing states flexibility to utilize 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) funding for expanded learning time activities, in addition to traditional afterschool programs. We are hopeful that this flexibility will make it possible for states to implement more high quality expanded learning time programs. All three of Citizen Schools states that received waivers —Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New Mexico—chose the optional waiver. Twenty-six other states, including New York and North Carolina where Citizen Schools runs programs, applied for the flexibility package in February 2012, the deadline for the second round. The Administration anticipates announcing the approval of second round applicants by early summer 2012. Approved states can begin to implement their flexibility as early as the 2012-2013 school year, opening the door to more expanded learning time opportunities for students.

For more information on approved ESEA flexibility for states, take a look at the U.S. Department of Education’s press release or this Washington Post article on the Administration’s announcement.