Three Citizen Schools States Apply for Flexibility to Support Expanded Learning Time

On November 14, 2011, three states where Citizen Schools runs programming, including New Mexico, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, were of the 11 states that submitted applications to the U.S. Department of Education requesting flexibility for provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA – also known as No Child Left Behind).  In September 2011, the Obama Administration announced that State Education Agencies could apply for a package of ten waivers in return for commitments and evidence of plans to turn around the state’s lowest performing schools.  Eight states, including the three Citizen Schools states, chose an optional 11th waiver to allow local communities flexibility under the 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) program to provide services that best fit local needs, including afterschool, before school, summer, and expanded day, week, or year. Without this waiver, school districts’ 21st CCLC funds designated for afterschool activities are restricted to a limited set of services and are unable to support expanded learning opportunities. The U.S. Department of Education anticipates approving the November waiver requests by mid-winter 2012; which means states could start utilizing flexibility as early as the 2012-2013 school year.  Two more states with Citizen Schools’ programs, New York and North Carolina, have submitted their intention to apply for the ESEA waivers by mid-February 2012.