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First Gov  

March 10, 1999

H.R. 800 - Education Flexibility Partnership Act of 1999
(Rep.Castle (R) DE and 65 cosponsors)

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 those results.

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 the Clay/Wu amendment 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.

The Administration also supports amendments designed to further strengthen accountability for results in the Ed-Flex program, and to ensure that Federal education dollars continue to reach the students they were designed to serve.