Deciphering the NJDOE Eval Waiver Process
In recent discussion with members it has become apparent that there is confusion around what options districts have to apply for a “waiver” or “equivalency determination” of current regulation associated with evaluation. Districts seeking a waiver for some component(s) of the evaluation regulations may apply through the official State Board process which begins with the local county office. According to recent testimony by the Commissioner of Education about 20-25 districts have applied for a waiver or equivalency determination to date.
To facilitate this process, district should complete the appropriate form (Waiver Application / Equivalency Application) found at the Department website and submit it to their respective county office. According to the Department:
- “WAIVER” means approval to avoid compliance either with the specific procedures or the substantive requirements of a specific rule for reasons that are judged educationally, organizationally and fiscally sound.
- “EQUIVALENCY” means approval to achieve the intent of a specific rule through an alternate means that is different from, yet judged to be comparable to or as effective as those prescribed within the rule
Districts must specify the administrative code citation(s) which they seek to waive and provide a narrative on how they intend to accomplish what is currently prevented or disallowed by the existing rule as well as why the waiver or equivalency determination is necessary to accomplish the desired or measurable results. A description of how the community, parents, boards of education members, administration, and staff were informed of the proposal and were permitted input is also required. A Board of Education must adopted a resolution for the proposed waiver and the CSA must sign off on the waiver.
A district's local County Office reviews the application and, upon approval, sends it to the Department for review and hopefully approval. It does not appear that there are any definitive timelines to the current waiver process. As such, districts may seek a waiver or equivalency determination at the present time.