Denise Kahler, Director of Communications     (785) 296-4876


August 28, 2014

For Immediate Release


Kansas Receives Education Flexibility Waiver Approval

State’s High Risk Status Removed


TOPEKA – The United States Department of Education today announced that it has approved Kansas’ request for a one-year extension for flexibility from certain provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education ACT, also known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB), and has removed the state’s high risk status, which was placed on Kansas one year ago.


“We are pleased that the USDE approved our waiver, but we’re even more pleased that we have been able to gain their support for the unique approach Kansas is taking to using student growth in teacher and leader evaluations,” said Interim Kansas Education Commissioner Brad Neuenswander.  


At the heart of the U.S. Department of Education’s August 2013 decision to place Kansas on high risk status of losing its ESEA flexibility waiver, was the issue of when and how to use student growth measures in teacher and leader evaluations. This year, Kansas’ education evaluation systems will incorporate student growth measures as a “significant” factor, however those measures will not be used to inform personnel decisions until the 2017-18 school year.


“We had concerns about the timeline for incorporating student growth measures into the evaluation process as well as the extent to which those measures should influence the evaluation,” said Neuenswander “The USDE listened to our concerns and ideas and we were able to win their approval for our model.”


Contributing to Kansas’ waiver approval was its work on the following:

  • Through the use of the Kansas Learning Network (KLN), the Technical Assistance Support Network (TASN), and the Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) Project, Kansas has been able to align systems and processes already in place within its special education and Title I offices to support implementation of the principles of ESEA flexibility.
  • The Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) makes differentiated and targeted technical assistance available to all local districts and schools through its TASN, which links individual needs directly to state-vetted service providers through a web-based request for assistance system.
  • KSDE is developing an accreditation process for all local districts that moves beyond looking solely at performance on assessments to examine a district’s holistic approach to serving the entire student and aligns with the state’s work in each of the three principles.


Kansas continues to work with the USDE to gain approval for the state’s model for accountability, which would allow for the use of multiple college and career assessments at the high school level, based on which assessment is most appropriate for the student’s post-secondary plans.