US Department of Education grants accountability waiver

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The U.S. Department of Education has approved the state education department’s waiver related to student accountability and school identification.

State education officials are required to submit information related to academic achievement, but the department requested the waiver because of concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic. Students had to complete coursework through remote instruction, resulting in interruptions in lessons and problems related to broadband access.

“As a result, the state is facing academic losses that schools will continue to address for months, if not for years to come,” the agency said Wednesday.

The department argued the waiver will allow school systems to better understand the academic impact of the pandemic without schools and educators being penalized.

“We have to establish a benchmark, and moving forward, this waiver will allow us to do that,” Superintendent of Schools Clayton Burch said. “We know that too many of our children are experiencing profound academic, developmental and social-emotional deficits, and we are committed to determining what these needs are and addressing them as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

The department will release information related to chronic absenteeism and access to technology and broadband at a later date.

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