State supe says feds approve testing waivers

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced over the weekend that California received preliminary federal approval to waive assessment and accountability requirements for the 2019–2020 school year.

The California Department of Education (CDE) and California State Board of Education (SBE) formally requested approval for these waivers from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) in a letter sent on March 26. A formal approval from the ED is expected in the coming weeks.

“During the current Covid-19 public health crisis we are all facing right now, we don’t want our districts worrying about testing requirements or students worrying about testing,” said Thurmond. “We are currently experiencing very difficult times and are thankful that the U.S. Department of Education responded quickly to our request for testing and accountability waivers. California will continue to address the current needs of students, parents and school communities, and we are anticipating and preparing to solve further issues that will arise, including applying for further waivers as needed.”

“The federal government’s fast approval of our waiver request provides welcome relief to our educators and students, and for that we are very grateful,” added State Board of Education President Linda Darling-Hammond. “The waiver allows our local leaders to focus on what is most important right now: Their students’ health, safety and learning.”

California will hold a public comment period for all stakeholders and local educational agencies with the submission of the waiver application through April 15. A copy of the notice and copies of all comments received by the state will be sent to the ED once the comment period has concluded. The state intends to review the comments to help inform California’s decisions moving forward about how to best support students and educators during this crisis.

Any comments or questions should be sent to ESSA@cde.ca.gov or by mail to the California Department of Education, Government Affairs Division, 1430 N Street, Suite 5602, Sacramento, CA 95814-5901.

For more information on Covid-19 and the suspension of statewide testing, view the CDE’s Assessment Spotlight, Issue 85 webpage at www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/sa/assessmentspotlight85.asp

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