Date: March 7, 2013
The Honorable Michael L. Williams
Texas Education Agency
1701 Congress Avenue
Austin, Texas 78701
Dear Commissioner Williams:
On February 28, 2013, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) submitted a request for waivers in response to the U.S. Department of Education’s (Department’s) September 23, 2011, document titled ESEA Flexibility, which invited each State educational agency (SEA) to request flexibility regarding specific requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended, in exchange for rigorous and comprehensive State-developed plans designed to improve educational outcomes for all students, close achievement gaps, increase equity, and improve the quality of instruction.
TEA staff subsequently indicated, in a March 1, 2013, phone call with Department staff, that its submission was an interim framework and that a complete request would be finalized by mid-April. TEA staff therefore requested to resubmit TEA’s request in April.
We agree that TEA would benefit from additional time to prepare a request that responds more fully to each of the principles of ESEA flexibility and therefore I am granting TEA an extension to resubmit its request no later than April 15, 2013. At the same time, given the importance of expediting review and revisions, if needed, to ensure that, if TEA’s request is approved, such approval occurs in time for full implementation by the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year, the Department believes it is essential to provide technical assistance to TEA staff on key aspects of ESEA flexibility. I am therefore granting this extension to TEA subject to the condition that TEA staff consult regularly with Department staff during the preparation of its revised request. Laura Jimenez of my staff will reach out to TEA staff in the coming days to discuss the details of that regular consultation.
Peer review of TEA’s resubmitted request is anticipated to occur the week of May 6, 2013.
I look forward to receiving TEA’s complete request and working with TEA to increase student achievement and improve the quality of instruction for all students. Thank you for your commitment to all students in Texas.
cc: Lizzette Reynolds, Chief Deputy Commissioner