March 9, 1999
The Administration supports House passage of H.R. 800, which would expand
the "Ed-Flex" demonstration authority to permit all States that meet the
eligibility criteria to waive certain statutory and regulatory requirements
of Federal education programs. The Administration has long supported the
concept of expanding ed-flex demonstration authority in a manner that will
promote high standards and accountability for results, coupled with
increased flexibility for States and local school districts to achieve
The Administration is pleased with the amendments made by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce to "sunset" the bill upon reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (to ensure consistency between that statute and Ed-Flex), terminate local waivers if achievement levels decline, and require public notice and comment before waivers are requested and granted.
The Administration strongly supports an amendment that is expected to be offered to H.R. 800 that would implement the President's proposal for a long-term extension of the one-year authority to help school districts reduce class size in the early grades, which the Congress approved last year on a bipartisan basis. In order to hire qualified teachers, arrange for additional classrooms, and take other steps that are necessary to reduce class size, school districts need to know, as soon as possible, that the Congress intends to support this initiative for more than one year.