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November 7, 2003, Extra Credit
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November 7, 2003
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 November 6
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Seattle School Officials See Local-Flex Program As "A Good Tool To Help Raise Student Achievement"

The U.S. Department of Education announced yesterday that the Seattle Public School District had become the first in the nation to win approval of its plan to use an unprecedented flexibility provision of the No Child Left Behind Act. The Local Flexibility Demonstration Program (Local-Flex) allows approved school districts to consolidate certain federal formula grant funds to meet local priorities in exchange for increased accountability for student academic progress. Following are excerpts from the Seattle Times' coverage of the announcement:

"The Seattle School District yesterday became the first district in the nation to gain approval for one of the act's new flexibility programs, which will give Seattle more control over how it spends about $4.2 million in federal money each year."

"'This kind of program really fits well with us,' Seattle Superintendent Raj Manhas said."

"Up to 80 districts across the nation can be part of Local-Flex. The program doesn't mean districts receive additional money, but it allows them to mix dollars from four existing federal grants that involve teacher and principal training, technology, school safety and innovative programs. Districts must submit five-year plans for how they would spend the money, and show how the plans would raise student achievement and narrow the achievement gaps among different ethnic groups."

"Seattle plans to use the Local-Flex dollars in schools that either failed to meet test-score targets required under the No Child Left Behind law, or have a high number of low-scoring students. The money will be used for different things in different schools — much of which is yet to be determined. In general, it will be spent on areas including teacher training, using data to improve instruction, making better use of technology in the classroom, and substance-abuse prevention."

"District staff members said the program is a good tool to help raise student achievement because it saves time and energy. 'It's helping us to focus more on getting the work done, and less on being sure that we're in compliance with the categorical rules,' said Mike McMann, the district's director of instructional services."

The complete text of the Seattle Times article can be found online.

More information on the flexibility provisions of No Child Left Behind and the Local-Flex program in particular can be found online.

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Last Modified: 09/06/2007