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Colorado ESEA Waiver

ESEA Flexibility Waiver Renewal 2015

*Public Comment Period Closed*

Current Information 2015

Colorado's ESEA Flexibiliby Waiver Renewal was submitted to and received by USDE March 31 2015. Thank you to all you submitted comments on Colorado's waiver application.

NEW -  CDE’s recent request to amend its current ESEA waiver to not hold districts liable for the decisions of parents who do not want to allow their children to take the PARCC-developed tests in English language arts and math was denied by the U.S. Department of Education on April 24. CDE requested the amendment in response to a motion by the State Board of Education at its meeting in February.  The letter from the USDOE is available here: USDE Waiver Amendment Letter.  CDE will provide guidance to superintendents and BOCES directors following the May state board meeting. 

NEWSummary of the proposed, substantive changes - This document outlines major changes and amendments that The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) proposes to make to its ESEA flexibility waiver as part of the ESEA waiver renewal process. The table includes the ESEA principle affected by the change, the page number(s) where the change can be found in the larger ESEA waiver document, a brief description of the change, and the rationale for the change.

In February, 2012, Colorado received a two-year waiver to many federal ESEA requirements through a waiver process offered by the Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. Since that time, CDE has submitted and received approval of several iterations of the waiver, including a one-year extension granted in spring, 2014.

Colorado's current ESEA waiver is set to expire at the end of the 2014-2015 school year. CDE believes the waivers have been helpful to Colorado students, schools, school districts and BOCES by streamlining the state and federal accountability systems and focusing improvement efforts. Therefore, CDE intends to apply for a renewal of Colorado's ESEA waivers by March 31, 2015.

In submitting its updated request for ESEA flexibility, CDE hopes to renew waivers of fourteen ESEA provisions and their associated regulatory, administrative, and reporting requirements through the end of the 2017-2018 school year.

Stakeholder input was fundamental to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act waiver renewal process. As part of the public comment process, CDE sought input regarding Colorado's proposed waiver and intent to renew from stakeholder groups, including: superintendents, local ESEA program directors, professional organizations, advisory groups, child advocacy groups and the public. Comments received were included with Colorado's waiver renewal submission and incorporated into a draft of CDE's waiver request as appropriate. 


  • Phase 1, January 16, 2015 through February 2, 2015 - Stakeholder consultation regarding Colorado's current ESEA Waiver
  • Phase 2, February 9, 2015 through March 20, 2015 - Stakeholder consultation regarding Colorado's proposed ESEA waiver renewal request
  • Phase 3, March 14, 2015 through March 27, 2015 - Finalize Colorado's renewed ESEA Waiver Request
  • March 31, 2015 - Finalize and submit the ESEA Waiver Request

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