Fiscal Report
Public Education's Point of Reference for Making Educated Decisions

California Receives Preliminary Federal Approval of Testing and Accountability Waivers for 2019–20 School Year

On Friday, March 27, 2020, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced that California had received preliminary federal approval to waive assessment and accountability requirements for the 2019–2020 school year. 

This process began when Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-30-20 on March 17 to seek a waiver from the federal government to forego 2019−20 statewide standardized testing for all California students. On March 20, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that the U.S. Department of Education (ED) will grant a waiver to any state that is unable to conduct its statewide standardized testing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The California Department of Education (CDE) and State Board of Education formally requested approval for the assessment and accountability waivers in a letter sent to the ED on March 26. While the state has been granted preliminary approval for these waivers, formal approval is expected from the ED in the coming weeks.  

The CDE is currently accepting public comment from all stakeholders and local educational agencies on the waiver application through April 15, 2020. Copies of all comments received by the CDE will be sent to the ED once the comment period has concluded. The CDE intends to review the comments to help inform California’s decisions moving forward about how to best support students and educators during the pandemic. Any comments or questions should be sent by email to or by mail to:

California Department of Education
Government Affairs Division
1430 N Street, Suite 5602
Sacramento, CA 95814-5901