Education News

Texas Commissioner To Delay Waiver Request Until After Legislative Session

Commissioner Michael Williams indicated his intent in a letter to the U.S. Department of Education Tuesday.

Earlier this year, it looked like the Texas Education Agency was headed into a stand-off with the U.S. Department of Education.

Federal officials wanted Texas to evaluate more teachers based on student test scores.

In fact, in January, the U.S. Department of Education gave Texas clear instructions: Make sure each school district will use new teacher evaluations that include how students perform on standardized tests. Or Texas loses its waiver from the federal law known as No Child Left Behind and also millions of dollars in federal funds.

The deadline was March 31.

But in a letter to federal officials, state Education Commissioner Michael Williams indicated Texas has more time.

Williams said he will submit more information for the waiver after state lawmakers finish the legislative session.

Previously, the commissioner said he didn’t have the authority to order districts to use a certain evaluation system. Some school districts, like Houston, already use student test score data to evaluate teachers.

In Austin this week, the House of Representatives passed a tentative budget that gives an extra $800 million to public schools — if lawmakers approve a separate proposal to reform the school finance system.

 

Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams’ letter to the U.S. Department of Education

 

Commissioner Letter to DOE (PDF)

Commissioner Letter to DOE (Text)

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Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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