TEA News Releases Online
March 1, 2013
TEA submits NCLB waiver request
AUSTIN – Commissioner of Education Michael L. Williams today announced that the Texas Education Agency (TEA) has submitted a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan formally requesting a waiver to specific provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), commonly known as the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001.
On Feb. 28, Williams submitted Texas’ request for a waiver from a variety of ESEA provisions in order to give TEA and more than 1,200 school districts and charters additional flexibility while reducing duplication between state and federal accountability systems.
“Currently, school districts across Texas are forced to operate within two, often conflicting, accountability and intervention systems while taking valuable resources and time away from focusing on improving student achievement,” said Commissioner Williams. “The federal requirements and guidelines of ESEA have become an obsolete system that does not adequately reflect the performance of the state’s schools.”
Williams noted that Texas has been a national leader in the college- and career-readiness movement. Texas was the first state to develop and implement college and career readiness curriculum standards, the first state to assess those standards, and will be the first to implement an accountability system to hold schools accountable for preparing students for postsecondary success.
Because of this strong history and the strength of the state’s current accountability system, the Commissioner believes Texas school districts should be released from certain federal requirements. Waivers being sought by TEA include:
- Waiver of the federal Accountability Performance Targets/Standards Setting Procedures to allow TEA to replace the current Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) calculations and performance targets with the state’s robust accountability rating system.
- Waiver to create a single system of interventions based on accountability results.
- Waiver to allow TEA to rely solely on the state’s rigorous teacher certification standards, which are supported by the state’s educator evaluation system.
- Waiver to allow school districts or charters to implement schoolwide interventions
in any of its support, focus, or priority schools, even if those schools do not have a poverty percentage of 40 percent or more.
In September 2012, Williams announced the state’s intent to file for a waiver from certain federal NCLB requirements. Over the past several months, TEA has sought input from superintendents, educators, business leaders and the general public on the scope of the waiver request.
Williams is seeking the waiver under Secretary Duncan’s general authority to waive specific NCLB requirements rather than the provisional waiver offered to states by the U.S. Department of Education. No timeline has been provided for a final decision.
The complete waiver request is available for viewing on the Texas Education Agency website.