Affect of the Education Flexibility Partnership Act of 1999 on Carl D. Perkins Act of 1998


Date:May 19, 1999
To:State Directors of Vocational-Technical Education
State Directors of Community, Technical and Junior Colleges
State Tech-Prep Coordinators
From:Patricia W. McNeil

At the meeting of the State Directors on April 28, some members inquired whether the enactment of the Education Flexibility Partnership Act of 1999 would affect the requirements of the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act of 1998. The Department is currently developing guidance on the Act, and we will share that guidance with you when it is complete. We will be able to address any issues specific to the Perkins Act at that time. For your information, I am sharing with you the information on Ed-Flex that the Secretary recently sent to your Chief State School Officer.

On April 29, 1999, President Clinton signed into law the Education Flexibility Partnership Act of 1999. (A copy of the Act is enclosed for your convenience.) This legislation allows the Secretary to delegate to states with strong accountability safeguards the authority to waive certain federal education requirements that may impede local efforts to reform and improve education.

To be eligible to apply for Ed-Flex waiver authority, a state must:

  • have developed and implemented challenging state content standards, student performance standards, and aligned assessments as required under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and for which districts in the state are producing the individual school performance profiles required by Title I; or

    have developed and implemented challenging state content standards and interim assessments, and have made substantial progress toward developing and implementing student performance standards and aligned assessments required under Title I, and toward having districts produce the individual school performance profiles;

  • hold districts and schools accountable for meeting the educational goals described in their local applications and for engaging in technical assistance and corrective actions consistent with Title I for districts and schools that do not make adequate yearly progress; and

  • waive state statutory or regulatory requirements relating to education while holding districts and schools that are affected by the waivers accountable for the performance of students that are affected by the waivers.

Under the Education Flexibility Partnership Act, any state, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the outlying areas, may apply for Ed-Flex waiver authority if it meets these eligibility requirements. To be considered for Ed-Flex, eligible states must submit to the Department an educational flexibility plan that addresses the application requirements in the legislation.

The Department is in the process of preparing Ed-Flex application materials and guidance. This guidance, which we expect to issue next month, will assist states in developing their Ed-Flex plans and describe the process for submission and quality review of those plans. This process will include a review of how states have met or are making substantial progress toward meeting the Title I requirements for an aligned standards and assessment system. My office will distribute this guidance to you as soon as it is available.

States are strongly encouraged to refer to the guidance before submitting their Ed-Flex applications to the Department. In the meantime, districts and schools in states that have not yet been granted Ed-Flex waiver authority may still apply directly to the U.S. Department of Education for waivers of federal education requirements. Guidance on applying for waivers from the Department is available on the Department's web site.

Under the new legislation, the original twelve Ed-Flex states (Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, and Vermont) retain their waiver authority for the five-year period for which it was initially granted. They may then seek an extension of this authority under the provisions in the new legislation.

If you have questions about the relationship between the Perkins Act and Ed-Flex, please contact Cynthia Brown of OVAE at (202) 205-5451 or via email at

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Last Modified: 09/15/2004