The U.S. Department of Education has created this list of questions to assist State educational agencies (SEAs) that are interested in applying for Ed-Flex waiver authority. This document is intended to assist staff within the state agency to consider important steps that are needed to establish an effective waiver process. In addition, there are questions regarding the Ed-Flex eligibility requirements to help the SEA determine if it is ready to apply. However, the primary document to guide preparation of SEA applications for Ed-Flex authority is the Ed-Flex Guidance, which is also available on this website. The guidance provides detailed explanations and information about the entire application process and should be used as the primary resource in applying to the U.S. Department of Education. Since Ed-Flex is a program that permits SEAs to waive federal education requirements that may impede local efforts to improve education, SEAs must create a waiver system with strong accountability safeguards.
- STATE EDUCATION AGENCY (SEA) ED-FLEX ELIGIBILITY
- Has the SEA met the Title I eligibility requirements? (see Guidance, Part B)
- Has the SEA developed and implemented challenging state content standards?
- Has the SEA developed and implemented student performance standards?
- Has the SEA developed and implemented aligned assessments?
Has the SEA developed and implemented school performance profiles?
How will the SEA demonstrate, convincingly, that each of the above requirements have been met?
Has the SEA made substantial progress towards meeting the Title I requirements? (see Guidance, Parts B-4 and B-5)
- Has the SEA developed and implemented challenging state content standards and interim assessments?
- Has the SEA made substantial progress toward developing and implementing the performance standards and aligned assessments required under Title I?
- Has the SEA made substantial progress toward having local districts produce the individual school performance profiles? (see Guidance, Questions B-7 and B-8)
How will the SEA demonstrate, convincingly, that each of the above requirements has been met?
- How will the SEA demonstrate that it has mechanisms to hold districts and schools accountable for meeting the educational goals that are described in their local waiver application(s)? In what manner will the SEA demonstrate that it has implemented a serious accountability system that results in meaningful intervention in low-performing schools and districts? (see Guidance Question B-9)
- How will the SEA demonstrate that it has mechanisms for engaging in technical assistance and corrective actions which are consistent with section 1116 of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) for districts and schools that do not make adequate yearly progress? (see Guidance, Question B-2)
Does the SEA have the authority to waive state statutory or regulatory requirements which relate to education? (see Guidance, Question B-10)
- STATE EDUCATIONAL AGENCY'S (SEA's) APPLICATION PROCESS TO THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Which staff will have the responsibility to assemble the evidence to demonstrate that the plan meets all of the Ed-Flex eligibility criteria? (see Guidance, Questions B-2 through B-10)
- Which staff will be involved with:
- creating and managing the waiver process?
- deciding on clear educational objectives that the SEA intends to meet under the Ed-Flex plan?
- devising the public comment procedures and implementing them?
(see Guidance, Question C-1)
Will applications for Ed-Flex waivers be combined with applications for waivers of state education requirements, or will the SEA keep those as separate processes?
Is there a system in place to track the waiver application and the waiver (if/once approved)?
What organizational unit will be assigned to design the application and manage the review process?
What various methods will the SEA use to make the applications easily available?
What timeline will the SEA establish to complete the review of a waiver?
Will there be deadlines for the receipt of waiver applications or will the SEA receive them on a rolling basis?
How will applications be reviewed? Will there be a different review process for statewide waiver applications?
How will the SEA monitor waiver recipients' progress in increasing student achievement or accomplishing other intended results of the waiver? Which staff will be given the responsibility of overseeing that system? (see Guidance, Question F-1)
What procedures will the SEA use if a waiver recipient does NOT meet its stated goals? (see Guidance, Question F-2)
Has the SEA developed a system to easily retrieve waiver information for evaluation, technical assistance, and monitoring purposes? (see Guidance, Question F-3)
What system will the SEA establish to review and approve or deny waiver applications? For example, will the SEA establish a waiver board or committee and how will it be constituted? What will be the role of the SEA staff that administer the program that will be affected by the waivers (e.g., Title I, Class Size Reduction, and Eisenhower)? (see Guidance, Part F)
- What methods/systems will the SEA use to:
- collect the data needed to hold the waiver recipient accountable for 1) student achievement, and 2) the stated goals for the school or LEA as described in the application?
- track statistics on waivers (e.g. the number of waivers requested, denied, withdrawn, returned for additional information, and approved)?
- track statistics on the types of waivers granted (e.g. federal, state, programmatic, and administrative) and the recipients of the waivers (e.g. LEAs and individual schools)?
track statistics on statewide waivers, if applicable to your SEA?
How will the SEA use Ed-Flex to promote innovative strategies for educational improvements in schools and LEAs?
How will the SEA provide technical assistance to schools and LEAs to encourage the appropriate use of waivers?
What methods will the SEA use to alert the public about its intent to apply for Ed-Flex authority? Will these methods ensure that all segments of the public have access to the information, especially the parents of children who will be affected by the waivers? (see Guidance, Question C-2)
How will the SEA maintain an ongoing effort to provide technical assistance to schools and LEAs about Ed-Flex?