NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Educators Enthusiastic Over "Ed-Flex"

March 24, 1999

The pilot program known as Ed-Flex gives schools in 12 states more leeway in how they spend federal education dollars -- so long as students perform well. School officials involved in the program are enthusiastic. They say they can spend money more efficiently -- freeing funds to buy computers, hire guidance counselors or improve student-teacher ratios.

Legislation to expand the program to all 50 states has been passed by both chambers of Congress and is being reconciled in conference.

  • Texas has been granted the most waivers since it initiated its Ed-Flex program in January 1996 -- 40 in all through 1997 -- and preliminary test scores there showed minorities made greater gains at schools using the waivers than at schools which didn't.
  • In February 1995, Oregon became the first state to kick off the Ed-Flex program -- but it was granted only two waivers through 1997.
  • Other states participating in the pilot program are Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio and Vermont.

More than 40 Houston schools that received waivers pooled all their Title I money, which allowed smaller schools to receive a certain portion of money which would otherwise have gone to larger, less-needy schools. Title I is the federal program to help disadvantaged children.

A Houston school superintendent reports that Ed-Flex "really helps" smaller schools.

Source: Wendy Koch, "'Ed-Flex' Getting Good Report Cards from Schools," USA Today, March 24, 1999.

 

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