May 23, 2007
Commissioner Jeanine Blomberg
Florida Department of Education
325 West Gaines Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
Dear Commissioner Blomberg:
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 of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). Following our discussions with your staff, the change that is aligned with NCLB is now included in an amended State accountability plan that Florida submitted to the Department on May 18, 2007. I am pleased to fully approve Florida's plan, which will be posted on the Department's website. A summary of the approved amendment is enclosed with this letter. As you know, 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 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. 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 Zollie Stevenson (email@example.com).
Kerri L. Briggs, Ph.D.
Acting Assistant Secretary
cc: Governor Charlie Crist
AMENDMENT TO THE FLORIDA ACCOUNTABILITY PLAN
The following is a summary of the State's amendment request. Please refer to the Department's website (www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html) for the complete Florida accountability plan.
Including students with disabilities in adequate yearly progress (AYP) (Element 5.3)
Revision: Florida will use the "proxy method" (Option 1 in our guidance dated December 2005) to take advantage of the Secretary's flexibility regarding calculating AYP for the students with disabilities subgroup (refer to: www.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/secletter/051214a.html). Florida will calculate a proxy to determine the percentage of students with disabilities that is equivalent to 2.0 percent of all students assessed. For this year only, this proxy (13 percent) will then be added to the percentage 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 percentage proficient to re-examine whether the school or district made AYP for the 2006-07 school year.