Burr Introduces and Senate Passes Bi-Partisan Bill to Provide More Flexibility in Education

North Carolina to receive more flexibility in return for stronger accountability

March 6, 2006

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Richard Burr yesterday introduced legislation to reauthorize the Education Flexibility Partnership Act (Ed-Flex). Ed-Flex was created in 1999 to allow states, like North Carolina with strong assessment and accountability systems to waive certain federal education requirements that may impede local efforts to reform and improve education. The bi-partisan bill, which had 16 co-sponsors, was passed by the full Senate Thursday evening.

"Ed-Flex has played a vital role in North Carolina's educational system by allowing local school districts to have increased flexibility," Burr said. "I am proud of North Carolina's exceptional school accountability program. As a result of our strong accountability safeguards, the Ed-Flex program helps our schools meet the goals of the No Child Left Behind Act."

Ed-Flex was created to help schools implement education reforms and raise student achievement levels by providing more flexibility in the implementation of federal education programs. In return for the additional flexibility, Ed-Flex states must demonstrate enhanced accountability for the performance of students. The U.S. Secretary of Education oversees which states can waive the federal requirements.

The Ed-Flex waivers in North Carolina are helping local school systems improve student achievement while meeting federal No Child Left Behind requirements in a number of ways. Examples of how local schools/school systems are using Ed-Flex to advance local reform strategies include:

Tutoring for low-achieving or at-risk learners through coordinating federal, state, and local services; developing more inclusive parent involvement initiatives; collaborating and planning with Head Start, developmental specialists, and faculty from local daycare centers to facilitate a smoother transition and more appropriate placement of pre-K students; implementing a hands-on, inquiry-based science curriculum to promote critical thinking skills; providing for ongoing literacy group instruction to allow students to move into and out of the groups, as necessary, during the school year, and expanding after school science clubs and purchasing resources for after school programs.

"For the future of North Carolina, it is imperative that we do all we can to assist all students, regardless of background, in reaching high academic standards. Only through a strong education system can we secure a bright economic future for our communities," Burr added.

Senator Burr is a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (HELP).

For more information go to https://www.burr.senate.gov

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