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DUNCAN RESPONDS TO REPUBLICANS’ REQUEST FOR MORE DETAILS OF WAIVER PLAN

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“Instead of touting murky alternatives, the secretary should lend his support to the House Education and the Workforce Committee’s ongoing efforts to advance targeted education legislation.”

Last month, House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and House Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Subcommittee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) wrote a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan asking him to explain the U.S. Department of Education’s legal authority for requiring states and schools to abide by certain changes in exchange for regulatory relief.

In a July 6 letter containing his response, Duncan cites section 9401 of NCLB, which authorizes the U.S. Department of Education to waive most statutory and regulatory requirements if needed to “increase the quality of instruction for students and improve the academic achievement of students.” Duncan said that waivers “would not be a permanent solution but a temporary one,” while reauthorization moves forward.

A spokeswoman for Kline told Education Week that Duncan’s letter eluded questions on what the waivers will look like, when the waiver plan will be finalized, how waiver requests will be reviewed, and when the waivers would become effective. “Instead of touting murky alternatives, the secretary should lend his support to the House Education and the Workforce Committee’s ongoing efforts to advance targeted education legislation,” she said.

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