A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

SEC. 311. WAIVERS OF STATUTORY AND REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS.

(a) WAIVER AUTHORITY.--
(1) IN GENERAL.--Except as provided in subsection (c), the Secretary may waive any statutory or regulatory requirement applicable to any program or Act described in subsection (b) for a State educational agency, local educational agency, or school if--
(A) and only to the extent that, the Secretary determines that such requirement impedes the ability of the State, or of a local educational agency or school in the State, to carry out the State or local improvement plan;
(B) the State educational agency has waived, or agrees to waive, similar requirements of State law;
(C) in the case of a statewide waiver, the State educational agency--
(i) provides all local educational agencies and parent organizations in the State with notice and an opportunity to comment on the State educational agency's proposal to seek a waiver; and
(ii) submits the local educational agencies' comments to the Secretary; and
(D) in the case of a local educational agency waiver, the local educational agency provides parents, community groups, and advocacy or civil rights groups with the opportunity to comment on the proposed waiver.
(2) APPLICATION.--
(A)
(i) To request a waiver under paragraph (1), a local educational agency or school that receives funds under this title, or a local educational agency or school that does not receive funds under this title but is undertaking school reform efforts that the Secretary determines are comparable to the activities described in section 306, shall transmit an application for such a waiver to the State educational agency. The State educational agency then shall submit approved applications for waivers under paragraph (1) to the Secretary.
(ii) A State educational agency that receives funds under this title may request a waiver under paragraph (1) by submitting an application for such waiver to the Secretary.
(B) Each application submitted to the Secretary under subparagraph (A) shall--
(i) identify the statutory or regulatory requirements that are requested to be waived and the goals that the State educational agency or local educational agency or school intends to achieve;
(ii) describe the action that the State educational agency has undertaken to remove State statutory or regulatory barriers identified in the application of local educational agencies;
(iii) describe the goals of the waiver and the expected programmatic outcomes if the request is granted;
(iv) describe the numbers and types of students to be impacted by such waiver;
(v) describe a timetable for implementing a waiver; and
(vi) describe the process the State educational agency will use to monitor, on a biannual basis, the progress in implementing a waiver.
(3) TIMELINESS.--The Secretary shall act promptly on a request for a waiver under paragraph (1) and shall provide a written statement of the reasons for granting or denying such request.
(4) DURATION.--Each waiver under paragraph (1) shall be for a period not to exceed 4 years. The Secretary may extend such period if the Secretary determines that the waiver has been effective in enabling the State or affected local educational agencies to carry out reform plans.
(b) INCLUDED PROGRAMS.--The statutory or regulatory requirements subject to the waiver authority of this section are any such requirements under the following programs or Acts:
(1) Chapter 1 of title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, including Even Start.
(2) Part A of chapter 2 of title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.
(3) The Dwight D. Eisenhower Mathematics and Science Education Act.
(4) The Emergency Immigrant Education Act of 1984.
(5) The Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1986.
(6) The Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act.
(c) WAIVERS NOT AUTHORIZED.--The Secretary may not waive any statutory or regulatory requirement of the programs or Acts described in subsection (b)--
(1) relating to--
(A) maintenance of effort;
(B) comparability of services;
(C) the equitable participation of students and professional staff in private schools;
(D) parental participation and involvement; and
(E) the distribution of funds to States or to local educational agencies; and
(2) unless the underlying purposes of the statutory requirements of each program or Act for which a waiver is granted continue to be met to the satisfaction of the Secretary.
(d) TERMINATION OF WAIVERS.--The Secretary shall periodically review the performance of any State, local educational agency, or school for which the Secretary has granted a waiver under subsection (a)(1) and shall terminate the waiver if the Secretary determines that the performance of the State, the local educational agency, or the school in the area affected by the waiver has been inadequate to justify a continuation of the waiver.
(e) FLEXIBILITY DEMONSTRATION.--
(1) SHORT TITLE.--This subsection may be cited as the "Education Flexibility Partnership Demonstration Act".
(2) PROGRAM AUTHORIZED.--
(A) IN GENERAL.--The Secretary may carry out an education flexibility demonstration program under which the Secretary authorizes not more than 6 State educational agencies serving eligible States to waive statutory or regulatory requirements applicable to 1 or more programs or Acts described in subsection (b), other than requirements described in subsection (c), for the State educational agency or any local educational agency or school within the State.
(B) AWARD RULE.--In carrying out subparagraph (A), the Secretary shall select for participation in the demonstration program described in subparagraph (A) three State educational agencies serving eligible States that each have a population of 3,500,000 or greater and three State educational agencies serving eligible States that each have a population of less than 3,500,000, determined in accordance with the most recent decennial census of the population performed by the Bureau of the Census.
(C) DESIGNATION.--Each eligible State participating in the demonstration program described in subparagraph (A) shall be known as an "Ed-Flex Partnership State".
(3) ELIGIBLE STATE.--For the purpose of this subsection the term "eligible State" means a State that--
(A) has developed a State improvement plan under section 306 that is approved by the Secretary; and
(B) waives State statutory or regulatory requirements relating to education while holding local educational agencies or schools within the State that are affected by such waivers accountable for the performance of the students who are affected by such waivers.
(4) STATE APPLICATION.--
(A) Each State educational agency desiring to participate in the education flexibility demonstration program under this subsection shall submit an application to the Secretary at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may reasonably require. Each such application shall demonstrate that the eligible State has adopted an educational flexibility plan for the State that includes--
(i) a description of the process the State educational agency will use to evaluate applications from local educational agencies or schools requesting waivers of--
(I) Federal statutory or regulatory requirements described in paragraph (2)(A); and
(II) State statutory or regulatory requirements relating to education; and
(ii) a detailed description of the State statutory and regulatory requirements relating to education that the State educational agency will waive.
(B) The Secretary may approve an application described in subparagraph (A) only if the Secretary determines that such application demonstrates substantial promise of assisting the State educational agency and affected local educational agencies and schools within such State in carrying out comprehensive educational reform and otherwise meeting the purposes of this Act, after considering--
(i) the comprehensiveness and quality of the educational flexibility plan described in subparagraph (A);
(ii) the ability of such plan to ensure accountability for the activities and goals described in such plan;
(iii) the significance of the State statutory or regulatory requirements relating to education that will be waived; and
(iv) the quality of the State educational agency's process for approving applications for waivers of Federal statutory or regulatory requirements described in paragraph (2)(A) and for monitoring and evaluating the results of such waivers.
(5) LOCAL APPLICATION.--
(A) Each local educational agency or school requesting a waiver of a Federal statutory or regulatory requirement described in paragraph (2)(A) and any relevant State statutory or regulatory requirement from a State educational agency shall submit an application to the State educational agency at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the State educational agency may reasonably require. Each such application shall--
(i) indicate each Federal program affected and the statutory or regulatory requirement that will be waived;
(ii) describe the purposes and overall expected results of waiving each such requirement;
(iii) describe for each school year specific, measurable, educational goals for each local educational agency or school affected by the proposed waiver; and
(iv) explain why the waiver will assist the local educational agency or school in reaching such goals.
(B) A State educational agency shall evaluate an application submitted under subparagraph (A) in accordance with the State's educational flexibility plan described in paragraph (4)(A).
(C) A State educational agency shall not approve an application for a waiver under this paragraph unless--
(i) the local educational agency or school requesting such waiver has developed a local reform plan that is applicable to such agency or school, respectively; and
(ii) the waiver of Federal statutory or regulatory requirements described in paragraph (2)(A) will assist the local educational agency or school in reaching its educational goals.
(6) MONITORING.--Each State educational agency participating in the demonstration program under this subsection shall annually monitor the activities of local educational agencies and schools receiving waivers under this subsection and shall submit an annual report regarding such monitoring to the Secretary.
(7) DURATION OF FEDERAL WAIVERS.--
(A) The Secretary shall not approve the application of a State educational agency under paragraph (4) for a period exceeding 5 years, except that the Secretary may extend such period if the Secretary determines that such agency's authority to grant waivers has been effective in enabling such State or affected local educational agencies or schools to carry out their local reform plans.
(B) The Secretary shall periodically review the performance of any State educational agency granting waivers of Federal statutory or regulatory requirements described in paragraph (2)(A) and shall terminate such agency's authority to grant such waivers if the Secretary determines, after notice and opportunity for hearing, that such agency's performance has been inadequate to justify continuation of such authority.
(f) ACCOUNTABILITY.--In deciding whether to extend a request for a waiver under subsection (a)(1), or a State educational agency's authority to issue waivers under subsection (e), the Secretary shall review the progress of the State educational agency, local educational agency, or school affected by such waiver or authority to determine if such agency or school has made progress toward achieving the desired results described in the application submitted pursuant to subsection (a)(2)(B) (iii) or (e)(5)(A) (ii).
(g) PUBLICATION.--A notice of the Secretary's decision to grant waivers under subsection (a)(1) and to authorize State educational agencies to issue waivers under subsection (e) shall be published in the Federal Register and the Secretary shall provide for the dissemination of such notice to State educational agencies, interested parties, including educators, parents, students, advocacy and civil rights organizations, other interested parties, and the public.

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SEC. 310. AVAILABILITY OF INFORMATION AND TRAINING. Table of Contents SEC. 312. PROGRESS REPORTS.