Missouri granted renewed No Child Left Behind flexibility waiver

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COLUMBIA - The federal government granted Missouri a three-year extension Tuesday of a waiver of flexibility under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, also known as No Child Left Behind. 

The government initially granted the waiver in June of 2012. According to the U.S. Department of Education, this flexibility waiver allows for qualified state education systems to waive parts of No Child Left Behind in "exchange for state-developed plans designed to improve educational outcomes for all students, close achievement gaps" and "improve the quality of instruction."

Missouri reapplied for this waiver in April of 2015. 

In the letter of approval from the U.S. Department of Education, Heather Rieman outlined why Missouri was granted the renewal.

"My decision to renew approval of Missouri's ESEA flexibility request is based on my determination that ESEA flexibility has been effective in enabling Missouri to carry out important reforms to improve student achievement and that this renewal is in the public interest," Rieman said.

"With this renewal, Missouri will be able to continue implementing its plans to promote innovative, locally tailored strategies to improve educational outcomes for all students, close achievement gaps, increase equality, and improve quality of instruction."

This waiver also allows for more customized intervention in the lowest-performing schools. According to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, "Under No Child Left Behind (NCLB), all schools that did not meet proficiency goals were prescribed the same interventions, including mandatory school choice or tutoring. Now, the state will identify our lowest-performing schools, and schools will create aggressive plans that best address their individual needs, as well as identify and intervene in their schools with the largest achievement gaps."