You may have heard that Wyoming has not received the Elementary and Secondary Education Act Flexibility Waiver (ESEA) [No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Waiver], and you may have also heard that Wyoming will not be applying for the ESEA Flexibility Waiver.
To date, Wyoming has not received the ESEA Flexibility Waiver. The waiver sounds great, but like anything that comes from the federal government, there are entirely too many strings attached.
However, Wyoming Freedom in Education obtained a letter from Governor Matt Mead to Richard Crandall, that alludes to the fact the before the newly former Director of the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE), Richard Crandall said his “emotional good-byes” on April 18th, 2014 the wheels may have already been set in motion.
In this letter dated April 11, 2014, and received by the WDE on April 15, 2014 –just 3 days before Richard Crandall left the WDE following the Wyoming Supreme Court decision that ruled his appointment unconstitutional– Governor Mead wrote:
“I have reviewed your memo regarding a possible application for an ESEA Flexibility Waiver…Your memo outlines appropriate next steps. The Wyoming Department of Education should continue work on the application, with the understanding that an application would most realistically be for a waiver to be granted in the 2015-1016 school year”
The Governor went on to say:
“We are all aware that the leadership of WDE will change in the near future. I would expect school district leaders to ensure that the State Superintendent is aware of their support for a flexibility waiver. Given this support, we hope work on the waiver application will continue through the transition in WDE leadership”
This sure doesn’t fit the narrative we have been told about Wyoming’s intentions concerning the ESEA Flexibility Waiver.
It just means, it won’t happen around the time of this year’s primary election, when Gov. Matt Mead is running for reelection against the elected and recently reinstated (by court order) Superintendent of Public Instruction, Cindy Hill, and Dr. Taylor Haynes.
Do not be fooled by this delay tactic. Unless the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction is unable to undo what Gov. Matt Mead and the former Director of the WDE, Richard Crandall, set in motion, Wyoming will be getting that waiver and all the strings that come with it; it just won’t be right away.
Governor Mead wants this waiver and doesn’t care about the stipulations and requirements that it comes with. Only there are road blocks that stand in his way.
Superintendent of Public Instruction, Cindy Hill, is known for not chasing after federal carrots, or going after anything that has federal strings attached to it.
This puts a big government, federal money- loving Governor like Matt Mead between a rock and a hard place. He tried to get the Superintendent of Public Instruction out of his way once and for all with SF104, but the courts ruled it unconstitutional.
And with SF104, and a myriad of other issues threatening to act as plague looming over the Mead Campaign, getting the ESEA Flexibility Waiver and ALL the strings attached, could be a nail in his political coffin.
He knows most people in this state want to get as far away from NCLB as possible, but he also knows that most voters in Wyoming would prefer to not be at the mercy of the federal government.
His answer, delay it… This appeases those voters that want the waiver, and pacifies the voters who think this buys Wyoming time to not get sucked in to the demands that come with the ESEA waiver.
Don’t buy it. It appears as though Gov. Mead is walking on both sides of the fence during his reelection campaign.
The bottom line is this, NCLB is a bad deal, but the ESEA Flexibility waiver, to get out of it, is worse.
The real issue with NCLB, the ESEA Flexibility Waiver, the Race to the Top Grant, the Improving Learning at Scale grant, the Common Core Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, and the Statewide Longitudinal Data System is the intrusion of the federal government upon Wyoming’s education system.
Education should be at the local level, and right now, Wyoming has handed the education of its most innocent citizens over to the federal government.
We must continue fight against educational tyranny in Wyoming, and as long as we fight, we will be victorious in our battle for educational freedom.