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Accountability & Assessment Waiver Request Letter

California Department of Education (CDE) Seal
California State Board of Education (SBE) Seal

State Superintendent of Public Instruction
1430 N Street Sacramento, CA 95814-5901
State Board President
1430 N Street, Room 5111, Sacramento, CA 95814


March 26, 2020


The Honorable Frank Brogan
Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-6100

Dear Assistant Secretary Brogan:

RE: Request for Waiver of Section 8401(b) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965

On behalf of the California State Board of Education and the California Department of Education (CDE), under Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Section 8401(b), California respectfully requests a waiver for the 2019–2020 school year of the following sections:

  • Assessment requirements in section 1111(b)(2);
  • Accountability and school identification requirements in sections 1111(c)(4) and 1111(d)(2)(C)-(D); and
  • Reporting requirements related to assessments and accountability in section 1111(h) as enumerated in the template attached.

On March 19, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-33-20, a Statewide “shelter in place” to protect the health and well-being of all Californians and to establish consistency across the state in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, on March 18, 2020, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-30-20 announcing California’s intent to pursue a federal waiver of testing requirements. In this Executive Order, Governor Newsom acknowledged that California’s schools were currently in the middle of the testing window and therefore it was necessary to waive state requirements to administer annual statewide assessments in order to allow local educational agencies (LEAs) to take appropriate actions to mitigate the COVID-19 threat. Governor Newsom called this “an unprecedented time, and our main focus is on supporting the mental and socioemotional health of students, while continuing to provide educational opportunities such as distance learning.”

California is appreciative of the streamlined waiver application released by the ED and is submitting our request for your approval. The State will hold a concurrent public comment period for all stakeholders and LEAs with the submission and review of our application through April 15, 2020. A copy of the notice and copies of all comments received by the State will be sent to the ED once the comment period has concluded. The State intends to review the comments to help inform the State’s decisions moving forward about how we can best support California’s students and educators during this crisis.

The current public health crisis is unprecedented in scale and scope. While we appreciate the flexibility currently being offered, the State anticipates that there may be a need to administer the English Language Proficiency Assessment for California for the purposes of reclassifying English learners, and that the State may need additional waivers of select ESEA provisions and looks forward to working with your staff to ensure future needs can be addressed.

If additional information regarding this request is needed, please contact Joseph Saenz, Federal Policy Liaison, Government Affairs Division, by telephone at 916-319-0570 or by email at



State Superintendent of Public Instruction
California Department of Education

California State Board of Education


Last Reviewed: Tuesday, March 26, 2024

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