No ESEA Waiver for Wyoming Until They Toe Federal Line

By Shane Vander Hart

state-flag-wyomingThe Casper Star Tribune released a document they received indicating that Wyoming would not receive an ESEA waiver.  In a memo from the Wyoming Department of Education that was sent to local school administration they outline several of the reasons:

Several challenges prevent Wyoming’s waiver approval. One is the state’s inability to develop a method to calculate graduation rates consistent with the Wyoming Accountability in Education Act but also conforming to federal requirements. According to the Governor’s education policy advisor: “[A]bsolutely no change to the Wyoming accountability model may be undertaken in order to satisfy the feds in exchange for a (sic) NCLB waiver.”

Another significant challenge is that state statutes do not allow for the administration of a uniform assessment tool such as those being developed by SBAC and PARCC as those tools include various item forms and writing assessment items in contravention of specific statutes.

How can this not be labeled federal coercion to force Wyoming, as well as, other states to get rid of those pesky state statutes that prevent them from implementing federally “sanctioned” education reforms?