The Utah State Board of Education applied today for a one-year extension of its Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) flexibility waiver.
The application comes following a vote by the State Board on March 6 directing Superintendent of Public Instruction Brad C. Smith and his staff to move forward in applying for the extension under amended terms. Among them, Utah continues to assert its “absolute and exclusive right to modify” Utah Core Standards, SAGE assessments, the Utah Comprehensive Accountability System, and its own teacher and principal evaluation systems without approval from or sanction by the U.S. Department of Education.
Last year’s nearly identical amended application was approved by the U.S. Department of Education in September. The State Board anticipates a decision on this year’s request within the next several weeks.
Waivers from the ESEA allow the state to exercise flexibility related to the requirements in the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). If again approved, Utah’s waiver would allow the state to continue to implement ESEA flexibility through the end of the 2015-16 school year.
“I fully expect that the Department of Education will approve our waiver under the stipulations that are in our current agreement,” said Board Chairman David Crandall.
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.