Current Law Restricts What Secretary DeVos Can—and Can’t Do—to Waive ESSA Requirements

Current Law Restricts What Secretary DeVos Can—and Can’t Do—to Waive ESSA Requirements

March 24, 2020

While the coronavirus economic aid package gives U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos authority to waive some key federal education requirements under ESSA, current law “does include restrictions on the secretary’s waiver power,” including funding-related restrictions. Secretary DeVos “can’t waive requirements for allocating of federal money to state, school districts, and Indian tribes,” preserving the Title I funding formula. Additionally, she cannot waive “requirements for schools to provide services to Title I schools that are comparable to non-Title I schools”; “applicable civil rights requirements” that fall under the ADA or Title VI of the Civil Rights Act; prohibitions on using ESSA funds for transportation or construction purposes; and more.