More “Flexibility” From The Feds

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos

Here’s another example of “flexibility” from the Feds that will directly impact parents who want to opt their students out. After we were told that the Every Student Succeeds Act will end the “national school board” and will “provide greater flexibility to local schools and states,” the U.S. Department of Education under Education Secretary Betsy DeVos doesn’t seem to have received the memo.


Utah is the latest state to get slapped down when they asked the Feds, “Mother may I?”

The Salt Lake City Tribune reports:

After its series of requests for flexibility from federal education laws were denied, the Utah Board of Education has agreed to count opt-outs as students who took tests but failed in order to achieve a minimum participation rate of 95 percent.

That means schools with high numbers of students who opt-out of assessments — including many charter schools and some school districts — could see their performance ratings plummet, as those children are awarded zero points for the purpose of accountability calculations. The ratings are used in programs like Title 1, school grading and school turnaround efforts.

The change in policy is part of Utah’s plan to comply with the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, which mandates that at least 95 percent of students participate in annual testing in grades three through eight and at least once in high school. Utah’s plan was approved Thursday by the U.S. Department of Education, following several delays as the state requested and failed to receive a waiver from the participation requirements, or a one-year reprieve from ESSA’s mandate.

Let’s say this again – The Every Student Succeeds Act does not provide flexibility. The Every Student Succeeds Act does not return local control. Those who think it does are either devious or deluded.

If the Trump Administration is serious about ratcheting back federal education policy they can start by convincing Congress to repeal this horrendous law.