In a letter sent to the department today, these groups express deep concerns about waiver implementation, from how graduation rates are factored into accountability systems to how subgroups of at-risk students are being helped.
They're both issues on which the grassroots, tea party, activist side of the Republican Party doesn't see eye-to-eye with the business community.
School districts that get Impact Act have taken drastic action to deal with the across-the-board federal budget cuts, including eliminating instructional staff and closing schools.
The applicants in the $280 million federal grant competition will be eligible for four-year grants ranging from $37.5 million to $75 million.
University researchers found that poor students fared better in D and F schools than they did in A and B schools, which has implications for No Child Left Behind waivers.
The co-chair of the influential Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation says its strategy on teacher quality won't change, even with a new administration.
The U.S. Secretary of Education tells returning employees, "I know that you're coming back to even more work than you already had on your plate before the Department had to shut down."
The legislation would allow teachers participating in alternative-certification programs to be considered "highly qualified" for an additional two years, through the 2015-16 school year.
A pending deal in Congress would give lawmakers time to find a broader budget solution before another round of sequestration cuts hits agencies in January.
When federal Education Department employees return to work, their lengthy to-do list will include monitoring waivers, judging Race to the Top applications, and pursuing financial sanctions against Georgia.