October 7, 2005
Dr. Betty Sternberg
Connecticut State Department of Education
165 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, CT 06145
Dear Commissioner Sternberg:
I am writing in response to Connecticut's request to amend its State accountability plan under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). The changes you requested are aligned with NCLB and are now included in an amended State accountability plan that Connecticut submitted to the Department on September 30, 2005. The changes are listed in an attachment to this letter. I am pleased to fully approve Connecticut's amended plan, which we will post on the Department's website.
If, over time, Connecticut makes changes to the accountability plan that has been approved, Connecticut must submit information about those changes to the Department for review and approval, as required by section 1111(f)(2) of Title I. Approval of Connecticut's accountability plan is not an approval of Connecticut's standards and assessment system. As Connecticut makes changes in its standards and assessments to meet requirements under NCLB, Connecticut must submit information about those changes to the Department for peer review through the standards and assessment process.
Please also be aware that approval of Connecticut's 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.
I am confident that Connecticut will continue to advance its efforts to hold schools and school districts accountable for the achievement of all students. I wish you well in your school improvement efforts. If I can be of any additional assistance to Connecticut in its efforts to implement other aspects of NCLB, please do not hesitate to call.
cc: Governor M. Jodi Rell
Amendments to the Connecticut Accountability Plan
This statement is a summary of the amendments. For complete details, please refer to the Connecticut accountability plan on the Department's website: www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html.
District AYP determinations (Element 1.4)
Revision: Under the transition authority in section 4(c) of NCLB, Connecticut may employ a one-time averaging procedure for the results from the 2005 and 2006 Connecticut Academic Performance Test (CAPT) administrations.
District and school AYP determinations (Element 3.1)
Revision: After the spring 2006 test administrations, Connecticut will investigate the use of an index to compute proficiency levels as a method for determining the AYP status of our districts and schools. If the index appears to be a feasible method for Connecticut, supporting documentation and data will be provided to USDE for review and approval.
Rewards and sanctions for public schools and LEAs (Element 1.6)
Revision: Connecticut will revise the criteria for the annual progress report required by schools identified as "in need of improvement." Connecticut's proposed changes affect optional information schools may provide to the public and do not alter the reporting provisions required by NCLB.
High school graduation rate (Element 7.1)
Revision: Connecticut will extend the date to report graduation rates for each subgroup from the graduating class of 2006 to the graduating class of 2010. Connecticut will continue to calculate and report the graduation rates at the school and district level for the racial, gender and students with disabilities subgroups. However, for AYP purposes, Connecticut will use the CAPT writing assessment in the interim, disaggregated by each subgroup, to determine safe harbor status.