The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) received preliminary approval over the weekend from the U.S. Department of Education to waive a number of federal requirements for statewide student testing and school accountability. State Board of Education President Dr. Casandra Ulbrich and State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on March 17, to urge the secretary to grant a nationwide waiver of statewide student assessments in favor of focusing on the more immediate needs of children. The U.S. Department of Education responded last Friday by offering every state the opportunity to submit expedited waiver requests for a number of federal testing and accountability requirements. MDE submitted its request late Friday afternoon. Dr. Rice noted in the letter for the waiver that the school closures are in response to extraordinary circumstances for which a national emergency has been declared and that the school closures “will protect the health and safety of students, staff, and our communities.” Michigan’s annual M-STEP tests are scheduled to begin the week of April 13 and run through May 28. If the public or local school districts would like to comment on this federal assessment and accountability waiver request, they can do so through the email address firstname.lastname@example.org.