Barresi calls on feds to restore flexibility waiver
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Published: 21-Oct-2014

OKLAHOMA CITY -- State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi and senior staff from the State Department of Education asked for immediate reinstatement of Oklahoma’s flexibility waiver from No Child Left Behind in a conference call late Monday (October 21) with high-level officials from the U.S. Department of Education.

“With word from the state Regents for Higher Education last week that our current state standards in English and math are indeed considered college- and career-ready, we have asked USDE for an immediate decision to return flexibility to Oklahoma schools,” Barresi said. “Such flexibility would come in the expenditure of federal funds and the removal of the burdensome federal requirements that exist under No Child Left Behind.”

The agency will now begin the process of resubmitting the waiver request.

USDE rejected Oklahoma’s waiver extension request in August, saying the state was unable to demonstrate state standards were college- and career-ready. The decision came after a repeal of Common Core State Standards in English and math with the passage of House Bill 3399. The legislation directed the state to revert to Priority Academic Student Skills (PASS) standards in the two subject areas, which had been in place prior to Common Core’s adoption in 2010.

When HB 3399 was signed into law in June, the SDE immediately asked the Oklahoma Regents for Higher Education to help determine if PASS standards could be considered college- and career-ready. One of the definitions of such status is based on state college remediation rates, which in Oklahoma have hovered at about the 40th percentile for years.

On Oct. 16, the Regents announced that a study of PASS standards revealed that if students achieve mastery of the standards they could be considered college and career-ready.

The State Board of Education, in the meantime, is overseeing the process of writing new state standards in English and math. The standards are to be in place by the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year.

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