Feds Deny Education Commissioner's Testing Request

Sep 11, 2013

The U.S. Department of Education has denied the Texas Education Commissioner’s waiver to opt-out of  testing requirements connected to the No Child Left Behind program.

Since taking office, Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams has petitioned the federal government to allow Texas to opt-out of 15 provisions in the Department of Education program known as No Child Left Behind.

"Most of them dealt with in terms of what happens with the Title 1 program, of course it dealt with what happens in terms of SES providers," Williams said. "Obviously our local districts would prefer not to have to reserve  20 percent of their Title 1 dollars for tutoring that is provided for by outside tutoring companies."

If the waiver had been granted, students who passed the state reading and math standardized tests in the third and fifth grade would have been allowed to skip portions of the exams in the fourth, sixth and seventh grade because of a bill passed by Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Humble.

In a letter to the TEA, representatives with the U.S. Department of Education reasoned their decision on the testing issue by saying:

"Testing was critical to holding schools accountable for improving the achievement of all students."

Earlier this session lawmakers were able to pass a House bill that reduced the number of tests needed to graduate, but did not address testing needs in lower grade levels, because many believed Texas would be granted the federal waiver.

The TEA is still waiting on additional decisions on other sections of No Child Left Behind not connected with the testing requirement.