May 28, 2003
The Honorable Michael E. Ward
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
6301 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-6301
Dear Dr. Ward:
The Department has reviewed your plan to invoke your authority as an Education Flexibility Partnership Act (Ed-Flex) State to issue waivers to LEAs on a case-by-case basis, for the 2003-2004 school year, of section 1119(a)(1) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act (P.L. 107-110). We know that you are striving to ensure higher achievement for all students and understand that special efforts are needed to attain that goal for students in Title I schools. For these reasons we know that you do not invoke this authority lightly since, without highly qualified teachers, these students will continue to be left behind.
Under Ed-Flex, a State may consider requests from its LEAs to waive statutory and regulatory requirements that impede implementation of State and local improvement plans or that unnecessarily burden program administration, while maintaining the intent and purposes of affected programs. (As you know, Ed-Flex States must meet the accountability requirements of Title I to maintain their Ed-Flex authority.)
North Carolina's intention to waive, until the end of school year 2003-2004, the requirement that all teachers newly hired by an LEA to teach core academic subjects in a Title I program be highly qualified is permissible provided that:
- The SEA grants the waivers on the basis of individual applications submitted by the LEAs under section 4 of the Ed-Flex statute (P.L. 106-25).
- The SEA determines that the requesting LEA is taking the steps necessary to meet the requirements of section 1119 of Title I by the end of the period for which the waiver is granted.
- The State's and LEAs' goals for raising the achievement of all students will not be compromised.
- The waivers will not compromise the State's plan to ensure that, not later than the end of the 2005-2006 school year, all teachers teaching in core academic subjects will be highly qualified.
I look forward to working with you to ensure that all of our children receive a high-quality education.
Eugene W. Hickok