ESEA Flexibility Waiver
In February 2012, Minnesota was first approved for a waiver to certain provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The ESEA Flexibility Waiver requires states to meet certain principles in exchange for flexibility from requirements in the NCLB law.

The most significant improvement for districts and schools under the ESEA Flexibility Waiver is reflected in the new accountability system described in Principle 2 below, and on the Multiple Measurements Rating (MMR) page. The waiver allowed the state to develop a better, fairer accountability system that moves beyond the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) system under NCLB.

The original waiver approval from the U.S. Department of Education (USED) was for the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 school years. In July 2014, Minnesota was approved for a waiver extension through 2014-2015. Lastly, in March 2015, USED approved Minnesota’s waiver renewal for four years, through the 2018-2019 school year. View the approved waiver and accompanying documentation on the U.S. Department of Education website.

Principle 1

Career- and College-Ready Expectations for All Students. States that received an ESEA Flexibility Waiver demonstrated that they are committed to preparing all students for success in college and careers in the 21st century by adopting statewide career- and college-ready standards in reading/language arts and math. High-quality assessments aligned to the state academic standards are to be administered in grades 3-8 and at least once in high school.   

Additionally, Minnesota adopted English language proficiency (ELP) standards that correspond to the state’s career- and college-ready standards and administered ELP assessments.

For information on the Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards, visit the Standards, Curriculum and Instruction page. Learn more about the state’s assessment system on the Testing Information page.

Principle 2

State-developed System of Differentiated Recognition, Accountability and Support. With a focus on improving the academic achievement of all students and closing persistent achievement gaps, Minnesota developed an accountability and support system that measures schools on multiple indicators of success and effectively directs resources to the schools with the most need. 

All schools in the state receive an annual Multiple Measurements Rating (MMR) that evaluates the school’s performance in the areas of student proficiency, growth, achievement gap reduction and graduation rates. Additionally, a Focus Rating (FR) is given to every school in the state to measure the school’s success in reducing achievement gaps. Using these ratings, schools receiving federal Title I funds are identified for additional support through the Regional Centers of Excellence. High-performers are also recognized on an annual basis. 

For additional information on the MMR and school designations, visit the Multiple Measurements Rating (MMR) page. To view a specific school’s MMR results, check out the School Performance page of the Minnesota Report Card.

Principle 3

Supporting Effective Instruction and Leadership. In 2011, Minnesota adopted legislation requiring districts to implement teacher and principal evaluation systems that are used to improve leadership and instruction, and increase student success.

All principals were to be evaluated starting in the 2013-2014 school year and, beginning in 2014-2015, teacher evaluation is required statewide. Additional information on Minnesota’s teacher and principal evaluation systems can be found on the Educator Evaluation page.