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Colorado Ed Flex Program Archive

Colorado was one of twelve states granted Ed-Flex authority under the Education Flexibility Partnership Demonstration Program by the United States Department of Education in 1995. Those twelve states served as “pilot program” states. As a result of Colorado’s “pilot” status, CDE was able to issue numerous waivers from federal law.

During 1999, Congress made significant changes to the original Ed-Flex law with the passage and enactment of the Education Flexibility Partnership Act of 1999. The new Ed-Flex Program allows the Secretary of Education to delegate to states, with strong accountability measures, the authority to waive certain federal education requirements that may impede local efforts to reform and improve education. It is designed to help districts and schools carry out educational reforms and raise the achievement levels of all children by providing increased flexibility in the implementation of federal education programs in exchange for enhanced accountability for the performance of students.

Section 1073 of the No Child Left Behind Act updated the list of programs that are subject to Ed-Flex waiver authority. As revised, the Ed-Flex legislation permits Ed-Flex states to waiver requirements of the following state-administered formula grant programs:

  • Part A of Title I (other than sections 111 and 1116) (Improving the Academic Achievement of Disadvantaged Children)
  • Subpart 3 of Part B of Title I (Even Start Family Literacy Program) (NOTE: Ed-Flex states may not waive requirements of the new Reading First or Early Reading First Programs (subparts 1 and 2 of Part B of Title I))
  • Part C of Title I (Education of Migratory Children)
  • Part D of Title I (Prevention and Intervention Programs of Children and Youth Who are Neglected, Delinquent, or At-Risk)
  • Part F of Title I (Comprehensive School Reform)
  • Subparts 2 and 3 of Part A of Title II (Teacher and Principal Training and Recruiting)
  • Subpart 1 of Part D of Title II (Enhancing Education through Technology)
  • Subpart 4 of Part B of Title III (Emergency Immigrant Education, if this program is funded)
  • Subpart 1 of Part A of Title IV (Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities)
  • Part A of Title V (Innovative Programs)
  • The Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act

A State may also waive certain requirements of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA) and the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) applicable to the covered programs.

On September 22, 2017, an extension of Colorado's Ed-Flex authority through the 2016-2017 school year was approved by U.S. Department of Education.

Waivers Not Authorized

On the other hand, some requirements do not fall under the umbrella of Ed-Flex. For instance, waivers may not be granted for requirements related to:

  1. Maintenance of effort;
  2. Comparability of services;
  3. Equitable participation of students and professional staff in private schools;
  4. Parental participation and involvement;
  5. Distribution of funds to states or to local educational agencies;
  6. Serving eligible school attendance areas in rank order under section 113(a)(3) of the Elementary and Secondary Act of 1965;
  7. The section of a school attendance area or school under subsections (a) and (b) of section 1113 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, except that a state educational agency may grant a waiver to allow a school attendance area or school to participate in activities under part A of Title I of such Act if the percentage of children from low-income families in the school attendance area of such school or who attend such school is not less than ten percentage points below the lowest percentage of such children for any school attendance area or school of the local educational agency that meets the requirements of such subsections (a) and (b);
  8. Use of federal funds to supplement, not supplant, non-federal funds;
  9. Applicable civil rights requirements.

In addition, waivers may not be granted unless the underlying purposes of the statutory requirements of the program for which a waiver is granted continue to be met.


Ed-Flex law requires CDE to monitor the progress of districts/schools receiving waivers. CSAP scores and other bodies of evidence determined by the district/school will be used for this purpose. All waiver requests will be reviewed by CDE's Ed-Flex Committee, and all schools, districts, and BOCES receiving a waiver(s) will be required to complete and submit to the department an annual evaluation of the impact of the waiver(s) on instructional services and academic achievement that is not being improved. The waiver(s) must be revoked pursuant to Ed-Flex legislation.

All requests reviewed by the CDE Ed-Flex Committee are forwarded to the commissioner for final approval. Review and response will occur within a 30-day period. Technical assistance is available by contacting Brad Bylsma at (303) 866-6937 or via e-mail

Related Links 

Colorado Ed Flex Program Application (2001)

The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) has completed it's 2001 Ed Flex Application containing the states definition of "Adequate Yearly Progress" for Title I schools. The United States Department of Education (ED) will now review the application for compliance with federal laws and regulations. ED may approve the application as written or require modifications. In any event, CDE will work with the ED to have an approved plan prior to June 30, 2001. As soon as approval is granted, CDE will notify all LEA's and BOCES. In the interim, please address all questions to Brad Bylsma:

State Ed Flex Plan - Summary

Passed by Congress in 1999, Ed Flex allows the U.S. Secretary of Education to delegate to states the authority to waive certain federal education requirements that may impede state and local efforts to improve education. Ed Flex is designed to give schools more flexibility to put in place educational reforms to raise student academic achievement.

Ed Flex gives Colorado an opportunity to invest federal education dollars based more on local needs and priorities than on strict federal mandates. Ed Flex is an important first step in allowing states the flexibility to help improve their education systems. Ed Flex is one more tool that will make it easier and quicker to implement state and local reform initiatives. It will enhance state and local efforts to make federal education programs an integral part of our reform efforts instead of an obstacle.

Under Ed Flex, the Colorado Department of Education will be empowered to waive some federal elementary and secondary education requirements, enabling schools and districts to better serve their students. Please link to the proposed state Ed Flex Plan by clicking above.

For Additional Information Contact:

DeLilah Collins
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