July 1, 2009
The Honorable Lillian Lowery
Secretary of Education
Department of Education
John G. Townsend Building
Dover, Delaware 19903-1402
Dear Secretary Lowery:
Congratulations on your new role. We wish you the best in working on behalf of students, teachers, and families in Delaware. As you may know, the Secretary is traveling the country and listening to representatives of states and districts, as well as other stakeholders, talk about the ways in which the Elementary and Secondary Act of 1965 (ESEA) can be improved. These conversations will inform the next reauthorization of the statute. In the meantime, we will push towards our reform goals under the authority of, and in accordance with, the existing statute and regulations.
I am writing in response to Delaware's request to amend its state accountability plan under Title I of the ESEA. Following discussions between the Department and your staff, you made changes to Delaware's accountability plan, which are now included in the amended plan that Delaware submitted to the Department on June 9, 2009. I am pleased to approve Delaware's amended plan, which we will post on the Department’s website. A summary of Delaware's requested amendments is enclosed with this letter. As you know, any further requests to amend Delaware's accountability plan must be submitted to the Department for review and approval as required by section 1111(f)(2) of Title I of the ESEA.
Please also be aware that approval of Delaware's accountability plan for Title I, including the amendments approved herein, 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 Delaware will continue to advance its efforts to hold schools and school districts accountable for the achievement of all students.
If you need any additional assistance to implement the standards, assessment, and accountability provisions of the ESEA, please do not hesitate to contact Victoria.Hammer@ed.gov or Valeria.Ford@ed.gov of my staff.
Joseph C. Conaty
cc: Governor Jack Markell
Amendments to Delaware's Accountability Plan
The following is a summary of Delaware's amendment requests. Please refer to the Department's website http://www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html for Delaware’s complete accountability plan.
The following amendments are aligned with the statute and regulations.
Providing accountability and adequate yearly progress (AYP) decisions and information in a timely manner (Element 1.4)
Revision: Delaware discontinued the practice of providing students in certain grades who did not score proficient on the state’s reading and mathematics assessments an opportunity to retake the assessments. Accordingly, the state will no longer include proficient retake scores in AYP determinations.
AYP determinations (Element 3.2)
Revision: Delaware removed the writing portion of its English/language arts assessment used for accountability purposes and will now assess student proficiency in English/language arts solely via the reading assessment. The state will not amend the starting points or intermediate goals used for determining AYP in this content area.