Board Conditionally Approves ESEA Waiver Extension

USBElogoThe Utah State Board of Education has unanimously voted to reapply for a renewal of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act Flexibility Waiver, which had previously been granted to Utah and will expire this summer. The state’s application will be sent to the U.S. Department of Education with several clarifications to the original 2012 waiver application.

Among them, Utah asserts its “absolute and exclusive right” to modify Utah Core Standards, SAGE assessments, the Utah Comprehensive Accountability System, and its own teacher and principal evaluations systems without approval from or sanction by the U.S. Department of Education. If granted, the waiver would continue to exempt Utah from many requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

The Utah State Board of Education has received hundreds of comments on this issue via email, phone calls, social media, public comments during meetings, in person, and other methods. Its members appreciate and value those comments. In deliberating whether or not to apply for a renewal of the waiver, members of the Board have listened carefully to parents, educators, and policymakers. Additionally, the Board has researched the issue through its legal counsel and staff. This has been a difficult decision and not one that any on the Board has taken lightly.

The Board of Education has the responsibility through the Utah State Constitution to make these types of decisions, and does so with the best intentions for Utah residents and in obeying the law. As we move forward, the Board of Education hopes all of those with influence over Utah public schools and students continue to search for the best solutions for our unique state.

Emilie Wheeler is a communications specialist for the Utah State Board of Education.



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