FORT BENNING, Ga. - Georgia was recently granted an Elementary and Secondary Act flexibility waiver -- which means parents living on Fort Benning with students transitioning to high school should start early when choosing where to send their child.

Under the waiver, school districts are given more flexibility in school designations and moves Georgia away from the old school rating system -- Adequate Yearly Progress, under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 -- to the new system that allows schools to be labeled as reward, priority, focus or alert.

According to the Georgia Department of Education, only schools that receive Title I funds are eligible for the new rating system.

As a result, Families won't be able to transfer a student to schools through public school of choice option covered under the No Child Left Behind Act. The option allowed parents to transfer their child to higher performing schools if the school didn't meet the AYP standards for two or more consecutive years, said Tawanna Brown, youth education support services director, but resulted in additional transportation costs for the schools.

According to the Georgia Department of Education, the waiver no longer requires Title I schools to offer public school of choice.

Families, however, can still apply to magnet schools and still have transportation provided if the child is accepted and space is available, Brown said -- dispelling rumors that Fort Benning Families aren't able to attend magnet schools.

The No Child Left Behind Act reauthorized the ESEA of 1965 with new revisions. According to the Georgia Department of Education, the state applied for the waiver in order to allow more individual flexibility to school districts in how they improve schools that are struggling.

Beginning in the 2012-2013 school year, instead of measuring student success based on federal requirements, schools will be measured and identified based on new standards. Now, English or language arts, mathematics, science and social studies will carry equal weight.

The waiver will remain for three years unless Congress reauthorizes ESEA between now and the 2014-2015 school year, according to the Georgia Department of Education.

For more information, contact Brown at 706-545-3605. For a list of priority, alert and focus schools visit, www.gadoe.org/External-Affairs-and-Policy/communications/Pages/NCLB-Waiver.aspx.

Page last updated Wed June 27th, 2012 at 00:00