SALT LAKE CITY – The U.S. Department of Education today approved a one-year extension of Utah’s waiver from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), meaning that the state will not have to follow some requirements related to the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).
The Utah State Board of Education and Interim Superintendent Joel Coleman were notified today that Utah is one of six states to be granted a one-year extension.
The approval comes after a unanimous vote by the Board of Education in August to reapply for a renewal of the waiver under amended terms. The Board included 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.
In September, Utah Gov. Gary. R. Herbert met with federal education officials in Washington to urge passage of the waiver. Herbert was joined by State Board of Education Chair David L. Crandall, Board Member Keith M. Buswell, Deputy State Superintendent Sydnee Dickson, and the Governor’s education adviser Tami Pyfer in the meeting.
“We believe the waiver approval affirms our state autonomy while removing the more onerous aspects and requirements of NCLB,” Crandall said. “We appreciate the joint efforts of the Utah State Office of Education staff, Board Members and Governor Herbert in working to gain approval of this amended application.”
Herbert today congratulated the Board of Education on the work it did in crafting a waiver unique to Utah’s needs.
Coleman said today he is pleased the U.S. Department of Education granted the waiver request “on our state’s terms.”
“The Utah State Board of Education and I wish to thank Governor Herbert for his support in helping to help keep Utah out from under some of the burdens of the No Child Left Behind Act. This is a step forward for Utah’s students and teachers. This is one more way to demonstrate that Utah is fully in control of its own educational standards.”
ESEA has been due for reauthorization by Congress since 2007. Without such reauthorization, the U.S. Department of Education announced in 2011 it would grant flexibility waivers to states that meet certain guidelines. Utah first applied for and was granted a waiver in 2012.
The Board of Education received hundreds of comments from the public on this issue throughout the summer. At the time of the vote, Board Members released the following statement: “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.”
Emilie Wheeler, communications specialist
Utah State Board of Education
801-707-8421 | Emilie.email@example.com
Mark Peterson, public relations director
Utah State Office of Education
801-538-7635 | firstname.lastname@example.org