SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah State Board of Education submitted a request Tuesday for a one-year extension of its flexibility waiver from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, known as No Child Left Behind.
The board voted in March to submit an application nearly identical to last year's, boldly asserting Utah's "absolute and exclusive right" to modify its education standards, curriculum, assessment system and accountability measures without federal entanglement.
State education leaders have been reluctantly obliged to obtain a waiver from the embattled federal education law, which would otherwise mandate that every student in the state score proficiently on statewide exams. Failing schools, which would include virtually every school in Utah, would be subject to administrative overhauls and academic remediation, according to state Superintendent Brad Smith.
The State School Board originally hoped the Legislature would provide $30 million to free the state from having to apply for a waiver year after year while holding schools harmless for how federal dollars would be redistributed. But the funding request wasn't met.
Utah's waiver from No Child Left Behind has been a fixture in the debate surrounding federal involvement in the state's education system. A report by the Utah Attorney General's Office said Utah maintains control of key elements of its education system, but a "plausible argument" exists that the waiver constitutes federal entanglement with implementing academic standards.
Tuesday was the deadline to renew the waiver. State education leaders expect the U.S. Department of Education to approve Utah's application within the next several weeks.
Email: email@example.com, Twitter: MorganEJacobsen