How Waiver Requests Could Affect ESSA Implementation

How Waiver Requests Could Affect ESSA Implementation

October 26, 2017

ESSA was “designed to let states determine for themselves how to hold schools accountable,” writes Jessica R. Towhey in the NH Journal, but it “may leave more children behind if states are allowed to skirt federal requirements through waivers.” Shifting responsibility for education from the federal government to states and districts was “a major win for conservatives,” but “civil rights groups and others have sounded alarms since the legislation was being drafted that too much flexibility could lead to states not devoting resources to historically underperforming students if it meant posting higher progress rates for schools.” To date, two states (New Hampshire and New York) have submitted plans to the U.S. Dept. of Education that included waiver requests, and Florida “wrote its accountability plan in such a way that critics say it skirts the law.” Additionally, policy experts “note that U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has approved two plans—Connecticut and Tennessee—that are out of compliance with federal law but were submitted without waiver requests.”

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