June 5, 2006
The Honorable John Winn
Florida Department of Education
325 West Gaines Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
Dear Commissioner Winn:
I am writing in response to Florida'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). Following our discussions with your staff, I am pleased to approve the amendment that is aligned with NCLB; the revised and fully approved plan will be posted on the Department's website. A summary of the approved amendment is enclosed with this letter.
I would like to reiterate that any further requests to amend the Florida accountability plan must be submitted to the Department for review and approval as required by section 1111(f)(2) of Title I. Please note that approval of Florida's accountability plan does not constitute approval of the State's standards and assessment system. Florida must continue to provide information to the Department for peer review as it continues to develop its standards and assessments to meet requirements under NCLB.
Please also be aware that approval of Florida'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.
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 Florida's efforts to raise the achievement of all students and hold all schools accountable. I wish you continued success in your school improvement efforts. If you need any additional assistance in your efforts to implement the standards, assessments, and accountability provisions of NCLB, please do not hesitate to contact Catherine Freeman (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Carlos Martinez (email@example.com) of my staff.
Henry L. Johnson
cc: Governor Jeb Bush
Amendment to the Florida Accountability Plan
The following is a summary of the State's approved amendment. Please refer to the Department's website (refer to: www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html) for the complete Florida accountability plan.
Including students with disabilities in AYP (Element 5.3)
Revision: Florida will use the "proxy method" (Option 1 in ED's guidance dated December 14, 2005) to take advantage of the Secretary's flexibility related to calculating AYP for students with disabilities. Florida will calculate a proxy (11%) to determine the percentage of students with disabilities that is equivalent to 2.0 percent of all students assessed. For 2005-06, this proxy will then be added to the percent of students with disabilities who are proficient. For any school or district that did not make AYP solely due to its students with disabilities subgroup, Florida will use this adjusted percent proficient to reexamine if the school or district made AYP for the 2005-06 school year.