Accountability & Improvement System

ESEA Flexibility Waiver

In 2013, the U.S. Department of Education approved Maine’s application for flexibility under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (or No Child Left Behind).

This flexibility allows Maine to implement its own statewide plan to improve educational outcomes for all students, close achievement gaps and increase the quality of instruction. As a result, Maine will cut in half the percentage of non-proficient students at each school within six years.

The State will do that through the continued implementation of the Maine Learning Results, a set of high standards updated to include the Common Core that ensure students graduate college and career ready. The Maine Department of Education will also help local school districts develop and deploy educator evaluation and support systems.

At the heart of the State’s plan is a system of differentiated recognition, accountability and support for Maine’s Title I-served schools. Schools are placed in one of five categories: priority, focus, monitor, progressing and meeting. Unlike the original NCLB measures, Maine’s approved plan distinguishes schools not just by student proficiency but also progress. These tiers allow the State to most intensively target its support to the schools that past performance shows need it the most, though improvement resources will be available to all public schools. Maine will also recognize high progressing and high performing schools.

The process for developing this new accountability and improvement system for Maine began with a series of forums, stakeholder meetings, a survey and other public outreach in September 2011. The Department sent a letter to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan in February of 2012 that laid out the State's plans for crafting a new accountability and improvement system and submitted its application in September of that same year. The waiver was formally granted in August of 2013.