The U.S. Department of Education announced yesterday that they gave Oklahoma its NCLB flexibility waiver back. It was taken from them after Oklahoma repealed Common Core.
From their press release:
In August, Oklahoma was unable to demonstrate that it had college- and career-ready standards in place, a key principle in ESEA flexibility, which is why the Department did not approve the state’s request to extend its flexibility. Following a recent review of the standards by the state’s colleges and universities, the state has the certification required to continue its flexibility. Higher, more rigorous academic standards help ensure that all students have the skills they need to succeed in college, career and life.
“I am confident that Oklahoma will continue to implement the reforms described in its approved ESEA flexibility request and advance its efforts to hold schools and school districts accountable for the achievement of all students,” Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Deborah S. Delisle wrote in a letter to the state.
The law has been due for Congressional reauthorization since 2007. In the absence of reauthorization, President Obama announced in September 2011 that the Administration would grant waivers from parts of the law to qualified states, in exchange for state-developed plans designed to improve educational outcomes for all students, close achievement gaps, increase equity and improve the quality of instruction. The one-year extension of ESEA flexibility allows states to continue moving forward on the ambitious work they began with their initial flexibility requests.
The Oklahoma Regents for Higher Education certified Oklahoma’s previous standards, Priority Academic Student Skills or PASS, back on October 16th, Oklahoma education leaders pushed for a quick reinstatement. Without that stamp of approved the Feds would not deem those standards “college and career ready.”
PASS will be used until new standards can be developed and implemented in the 2016-2017 school year. It would have been better for Oklahoma to tell the Feds to stick it. The waiver is unconstitutional, and states cede their sovereignty in education by seeking it out.