August 18, 2008
The Honorable Eric Smith
Florida Department of Education
325 West Gaines Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
Dear Commissioner Smith:
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 discussions between the Department and your staff, you made certain changes to Florida's accountability plan, which are now included in the amended state accountability plan that Florida submitted to the Department on August 7, 2008. I am pleased to fully approve Florida's amended plan, which we will post on the Department's website. A summary of the amendments submitted for the 2007-08 school year 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 of the ESEA.
Please also be aware that approval of Florida'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 Florida will continue to hold schools and school districts accountable for the achievement of all students. I wish you well in your school improvement efforts. If you need any additional assistance in implementing the standards, assessment, and accountability provisions of NCLB, please do not hesitate to contact Patrick Rooney (Patrick.Rooney@ed.gov) or Sharon Hall (Sharon.Hall@ed.gov) of my staff.
Kerri L. Briggs, Ph.D.
cc: Governor Charlie Crist
Amendments to the Florida 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 Florida Accountability Plan.
The following amendments are aligned with the statute and regulations:
General clean-up (All elements)
Revision: Florida revised its workbook to update references and links to the Florida Department of Education Web site.
Including students with disabilities in AYP determinations (Element 5.3)
Revision: Florida will use the "proxy method" (option 1 in our guidance dated December 2005) to take advantage of the transition flexibility offered by the Department pursuant to its authority under 34 C.F.R. § 200.20(g) (see www.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/modachieve-summary.html) for calculating AYP for the students with disabilities subgroup for the 2007-08 school year for reading/language arts only. If a school misses AYP solely on the basis of the students with disabilities group in reading/language arts, a proxy that is equivalent to 2.0 percent of all students tested will be added to the percentage of students with disabilities in the school that were proficient in reading/language arts. Florida will use this adjusted percentage proficient to re-examine whether the school or district made AYP for the 2007-08 school year. The actual percentage proficient will be reported to parents and the public.
Participation rate calculation (Element 10.1)
Revision: Florida will average the participation rate over two years if the participation rate in the current year for any school or district is less than 95 percent.