June 5, 2006
The Honorable Kathy Cox
State Superintendent of Schools
Georgia Department of Education
2062 Twin Towers East
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
Dear Superintendent Cox:
I am writing in response to Georgia'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 amendments that are aligned with NCLB; the revised and fully approved plan will be posted on the Department's website. A summary of the approved amendments is enclosed with this letter.
As you know, any additional requests to amend the Georgia 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 Georgia's accountability plan does not constitute approval of the State's standards and assessment system.
Please also be aware that approval of Georgia'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 Georgia'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 Valeria Ford (email@example.com) of my staff.
Henry L. Johnson
cc: Governor Sonny Perdue
Amendments to the Georgia 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 Georgia accountability plan.
Including students with disabilities in AYP (Element 5.3)
Revision: For the 2005-06 school year, Georgia is once again requesting interim flexibility regarding modified achievement standards. Georgia will calculate a proxy (16%) to determine the percentage of students with disabilities (SWD) 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, Georgia will use this adjusted percent proficient to reexamine if the school or district made AYP for the 2005-06 school year.
Subgroup Accountability: Creating a separate subgroup for hurricane evacuees (Element 5.1)
Revision: Georgia requests flexibility to create a new AYP subgroup specifically for students displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Displaced students will appear only in this new subgroup for NCLB reporting and accountability purposes and not in any other subgroup (even the "all students" subgroup) to which they would usually belong. AMO's and second indicators will not apply for this subgroup in the 2005-2006 school year.
The Secretary granted this waiver and the conditions for approval can be found in the April 19th letter to the Georgia Department of Education found at http://hurricanehelpforschools.gov/letters/052606-georgia.doc