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Accountability & Improvement System
ESEA Flexibility/Waiver

New Hampshire Receives Flexibility Waiver Under Federal No Child Left Behind Education Law (June 26, 2013)

Based on requests from the field, we have put together a timeline overview of the NHDOE’s Flexibility Waiver. Please note that this timeline is predicated on approval of the current waiver from the U.S. Department of Education.

The State of New Hampshire today (September 6, 2012) - with strong support from educators at all levels, school districts, local officials and Gov. John Lynch - applied for a federal waiver which would free the state from certain provisions of the No Child Left Behind act.

No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the current version of the federal ESEA, has served as a catalyst for constructive debate and action on educational issues such as school and district performance, teacher quality, English language acquisition, and choice options for students. However, the United States Congress has not acted on the long overdue reauthorization of ESEA. Significant NCLB provisions are outdated and the constraints of the law make it difficult to move ahead with important reforms. Because of the delay in reauthorization, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has invited states to submit waivers to ESEA provisions and requirements.

The NHDOE has received widespread support of the waiver application, working extensively with multiple stakeholders, as well as the New Hampshire State Board of Education endorsement of it. Here in New Hampshire, we have approached the waiver process from the perspective that anything we do must be consistent with our unique local control character. Recent conversations with Secretary Duncan and others at the USED have encouraged us to move forward with this abiding principle.

The waiver includes the Department’s plan to implement the following required principles:

  1. College- and Career-Ready Expectations for All Students
  2. State-Developed Differentiated Recognition, Accountability, and Support
  3. Supporting Effective Instruction and Leadership
  4. Reducing Duplication and Unnecessary Burden

Features of New Hampshire’s waiver design includes:

  • The NHDOE’s Theory of Action
  • The state’s implementation strategy for the New Hampshire’s new mathematics and English language arts standards
  • A system of improvement and innovation networks to support educators as they seek to increase the numbers of students who are college and/or career ready
  • A new process for determining annual measurable objectives (AMOs)
  • The state’s plan to support the school’s struggling the most in New Hampshire
  • A description of the work-to-date regarding the Teacher and Principal Effectiveness Task Forces and the state’s plan to move forward.
  • The NHDOE’s initial ideas for reducing duplication and unnecessary burden

Parties interested in learning more may contact Deputy Commissioner Leather at

Additional Information

United States Department of Education Resources

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New Hampshire Department of Education
101 Pleasant Street | Concord, NH | 03301-3494
Telephone: (603) 271-3494 | TDD Access: Relay NH 711