Missouri’s ESEA flexibility waiver approved

The U.S. Department of Education yesterday — June 29 — approved Missouri’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act, or ESEA, waiver, giving the state flexibility from burdensome No Child Left Behind requirements.

The waiver allows Missouri to use its own accountability system to: more effectively identify struggling schools, efficiently direct resources to struggling schools and recognize schools achieving exemplary results.

“We are celebrating the approval of Missouri’s ESEA waiver, and we greatly appreciate the hard work and feedback of all those who were involved,” Missouri Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro stated in a news release. “While this is the culmination of the application process, the real effort is just beginning. Our goal is to ensure that all students graduate from high school college- and career-ready and for Missouri to become one of the top 10 states in education by the year 2020.”

Missouri’s ESEA waiver:

• Implements higher academic standards.

• Creates one state system of accountability.

• Allows more flexible Title I spending for schools.

• Focuses on school improvement.

• Improves the teacher evaluation system.

Missouri’s flexibility waiver will go into effect immediately for the 2012-2013 school year, although there will be some implementation and phase-in throughout the year.

The final waiver application, answers to frequently asked questions and other supporting documents can be found on the department’s website at


Missouri was one of five states to receive approval yesterday in round two of the waiver request, including Arkansas, South Dakota, Utah and Virginia.