Nevada requests a U.S. Department of Education waiver on standardized testing requirements

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Nevada’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jhone Ebert announced at noon on Friday that the Nevada Department of Education has submitted a waiver request to the U.S. Department of Education to cancel school standardized testing requirements for the 2019-2020 school year. Upon submitting this request, the U.S. Department of Education will grant this waiver because of the ongoing coronavirus national emergency.

According to U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, “Students need to be focused on staying healthy and continuing to learn. Teachers need to be able to focus on remote learning and other adaptations. Neither students nor teachers need to be focused on high-stakes tests during this difficult time. Students are simply too unlikely to be able to perform their best in this environment. Our actions today provide turnkey flexibilities for state and local leaders to focus on the immediate needs of their students and educators without worrying about federal repercussions. I’ve spoken with many local education leaders in the past days, and I’m inspired by their efforts to help their students continue to learn and grow. We’re going to continue to provide every flexibility possible to help make that as simple as possible.”

Secretary DeVos further explained in a letter she shared with the states, “The U.S. Secretary of Education today granted states the authority to waive the assessments under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. As a condition of the waiver, school accountability designations from the 2019-20 school year will be maintained in the 2020-2021 school year and identified schools will continue to receive supports and interventions consistent with the school’s support and improvement plan in the 2020-2021 school year.

“Due to the extraordinary circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting school closures, I am providing flexibility to all States regarding the assessment and accountability requirements under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by (ESSA).”

Ebert’s press release stated, “We are proud that educators, students, and families are demonstrating a continued commitment to education during the current school building closures,” said Superintendent Ebert. “However, we recognize that this worldwide health crisis has made it impossible to reliably administer required federal assessments and comply with the related accountability, school identification, and reporting requirements. The Nevada Department of Education will continue to work closely with districts and schools to serve our students while prioritizing their health and safety, as well as that of our educators, staff, and communities.”

The NDOE will be posting the waiver request to the Nevada Department of Education’s website for public comment for 30 days.