Federal education chief Arne Duncan has made his decision on whether to revoke Washington state’s waiver from many requirements of the federal education law known as No Child Left Behind.
State officials would not confirm on Wednesday what that decision is, but over the last few weeks they have been telling school districts to prepare their budgets, assuming the U.S. Department of Education would revoke the waiver.
That possibility has focused national attention on Washington, which would be the first state in the country to lose the waiver.
The loss would affect public-school districts in two ways: They would lose control of how they spend a portion of their federal funding (roughly $40 million statewide); and many could be declared failing and possibly subject to remedies as extreme as thestate takeover or replacement of most of the staff.
“We have received a phone call saying that a letter is coming with Arne Duncan’s decision,” said Kristen Jaudon, spokeswoman for the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction on Wednesday. “We haven’t seen a copy of the letter. We can’t comment on the contents of the letter until we’ve seen it.”
Randy Dorn, OSPI chief, was unavailable for comment, she said.
Earlier this year, Dorn and Gov. Jay Inslee failed to persuade state lawmakers to make the use of student scores on statewide tests a mandatory component of teacher evaluation — an Obama Administration requirement for states seeking waivers. Under Washington state law, the use of those scores is optional.
Forty-two other states also have received waivers, including Illinois just last week.