Guest post by Andrew Ujifusa
The Wyoming Department of Education has warned its schools to prepare for life without a waiver from the No Child Left Behind Act for the 2014-15 school year.
The U.S. Department of Education has told the state it will "continue to consider and evaluate" Wyoming's waiver, according to a May 12 letter from Travis Hoff, a public information officer at the Wyoming education department, to school superintendents and other local K-12 officials. The state has decided that it's too late for any final decision from the federal Education Department to affect the 2014-15 school year, the letter says.
When I called Hoff, he said the Wyoming department had not received a definitive "yes" or "no" on its waiver application, and that the letter represented Wyoming officials' independent judgment about how to move forward.
In other words, the state's waiver request remains pending.
According to the letter from Hoff, one of the major issues in the waiver process for Wyoming is the state's accountability system. He wrote that the state has struggled to settle on an accountability system that satisfies both the Wyoming Accountability in Education Act and what federal officials are seeking in granting waivers.
The letter also quotes this statement from the education policy adviser to Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead: "[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."
(That education advisor isn't mentioned by name, but the person listed on Mead's website as the staffer dealing with education policy is Mary Kay Hill.)