ESEA Waiver

In 2012, Minnesota was approved for a waiver to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). This waiver has a major impact on the way schools are now held accountable for their performance. View the approved waiver request on the U.S. Department of Education website.

Minnesota’s approved ESEA flexibility waiver request replaced the goal to have every student achieve proficiency by 2014 with the new goal of reducing the achievement gap by 50 percent within six years. Every year, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) assesses the progress each school is making toward reaching this new goal.

The system used to determine whether schools are on track to meet this goal is the new Multiple Measurements Rating (MMR). The MMR includes four measurements: student proficiency, student growth, achievement gap reduction, and graduation rates. This rating is used to identify low-performing schools that need state support, as well as high-performing schools deserving recognition. The student scores in the MMR use the results of the annual Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) exams. To learn more about a specific school’s performance on MMR and other measurements, visit the “How is my school doing?” link provided in Related MDE resources.

Schools that receive federal Title I funding, based on the percentage of their students living in poverty, are required to take certain steps when they are identified as low-performing. Priority schools are Title I-funded schools performing in the bottom five percent on the MMR. Focus schools are Title I-funded schools with the widest achievement gaps, as measured through the Focus Rating (FR). With the support of MDE and the Regional Centers of Excellence, these schools are required to develop and implement school improvement plans to address the low performance of their students. Learn more about the support for Priority and Focus schools on the Statewide System of Support page.