Date: March 7, 2013
Honorable James O. Rose
Wyoming Department of Education
2300 Capitol Avenue, 2nd floor Hathaway Building
Cheyenne, WY 82002
Dear Director Rose:
On February 28, 2013, the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) submitted a request for flexibility 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 waivers 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.
WDE staff subsequently indicated, in a March 1, 2013, phone call with Department staff, that the request it submitted, while brief, reflected recent legislation related to the State’s transition to college- and career-ready standards; implementation of a more nuanced system of differentiated recognition, accountability, and support; and development and implementation of more accurate teacher and principal evaluation and support systems. The State further indicated that, given additional time, it could describe more comprehensively its plans for reform in each of these areas as required for an approvable request for ESEA flexibility.
I agree that WDE 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 WDE 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 WDE’s request is approved, such approval occurs in time for full implementation by the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year, I believe it is essential to provide technical assistance to WDE staff on key aspects of ESEA flexibility. I am therefore granting this extension to WDE subject to the condition that WDE staff consult regularly with Department staff during the preparation of Wyoming’s revised request. Victoria Hammer of my staff will reach out to WDE staff in the coming days to discuss the details of that consultation.
I anticipate that peer review of WDE’s resubmitted request will occur the week of May 6, 2013.
I look forward to receiving WDE’s complete request and working with WDE to increase student achievement and improve the quality of instruction for all students. Thank you for your commitment to all students in Wyoming.
Deborah S. Delisle