March 12, 2007
The Honorable T. Kenneth James
Arkansas Department of Education
Four State Capitol Mall, Room 304 A
Little Rock, Arkansas 72201-1071
Dear Director James:
I am writing in response to Arkansas' request to amend its State accountability plan under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). Following our discussions with your staff, the changes that are aligned with NCLB are now included in an amended State accountability plan that Arkansas submitted to the Department on February 28, 2007. I am pleased to fully approve Arkansas' plan, which will be posted on the Department's website. A summary of the approved amendments is enclosed with this letter.
As you know, any further requests to amend the Arkansas accountability plan must be submitted to the Department for review and approval as required by section 1111(f)(2) of Title I. Please also be aware that approval of Arkansas' accountability plan for Title I, including the amendments approved above, does not indicate that the plan complies with Federal civil rights requirements, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
NCLB has provided a vehicle for States to raise the achievement of all students and to close the achievement gap. We are seeing the results of our combined endeavor; achievement is rising throughout the nation. I appreciate Arkansas' efforts to raise the achievement of all students and hold all schools accountable. If you need any additional assistance to implement the standards, assessments, and accountability provisions of NCLB, please do not hesitate to contact Catherine Freeman (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Grace Ross (email@example.com).
Kerri L. Briggs, Ph.D.
Acting Assistant Secretary
cc: Governor Mike Beebe
AMENDMENT PROPOSALS TO THE ARKANSAS ACCOUNTABILITY PLAN
The following is a summary of the State's amendment requests. Please refer to the Department's website www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html) for the complete Arkansas accountability plan.
We have reviewed your request to amend the Arkansas accountability plan and found the following amendments aligned with the regulations and statute. These may be included in Arkansas's approved accountability plan.
Including limited English proficient (LEP) students in adequate yearly progress (AYP) (Element 2.1)
Revision: Limited English proficient students will participate in the regular assessment with or without accommodations. The alternate portfolio assessment for LEP students has been discontinued.
Including students with disabilities in adequate yearly progress (Element 5.3)
Revision: Independent and Functional Independence will be used to indicate Advanced and Proficient performance levels for students with disabilities participating in the alternate assessment based on alternate achievement standards.
Incorporating the use of growth model in AYP determinations (Element 3.1)
Revision: As approved by the Department through a flexibility agreement, Arkansas will implement a growth model as a means of determining AYP for schools and districts. Details regarding the growth model can be found at http://www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/growthmodel/ar/index.html.