Response to Waiver Accountability letter – Kansas – ESEA Policy Letters to States

May 17, 2011

David Dennis
Chairman, Kansas State Board of Education
Kansas State education Building
120 S.E. 10th Avenue
Topeka, Kansas 66612-1182

Dear Mr. Dennis:

I am writing in response to the Kansas State Board of Education’s request to waive certain statutory and regulatory requirements of Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended. In particular, the Kansas State Board of Education requested a waiver of statutory and regulatory provisions related to accountability to allow Kansas’ annual yearly progress (AYP) targets to he held at the 2009-2010 levels until the Kansas Common Core Standards and the new SMARTER Balanced assessment can be fully implemented, which is anticipated by the 2014-2015 school year. We are also aware that the Kansas State Board of Education requested an accountability workbook amendment for this.

After reviewing and giving careful consideration to the Kansas State Board of Education’s request, I am declining to exercise my waiver authority. I understand the technical difficulties raised during the transition to a new assessment system, as well as the challenges involved with aligning curriculum and instruction to the new Common Core State Standards; however, upon careful consideration, I believe the reauthorization of the ESEA is the best place to address these important transition issues and we are hopeful that this will soon occur.

Thank you for working to improve student performance. If you should have questions, please contact Sharon Hall of my staff at 202-260-0998 or



Thelma Melendez de Santa Ana, Ph.D.

cc: Dr. Diane M. DeBacker
Kathy J. Toelkes