August 11, 2005
Ms. Judy Jeffrey
Director of Education
Iowa Department of Education
Grimes State Office Building
East 14th & Grand Streets
Des Moines, IA 50319-0146
Dear Director Jeffrey:
I am writing in response to Iowa'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). The changes you requested are aligned with NCLB and are now included in an amended State accountability plan that Iowa submitted to the Department on August 4, 2005. The changes are listed in an attachment to this letter. I am pleased to fully approve Iowa's amended plan, which we will post on the Department's website.
If, over time, Iowa makes changes to the accountability plan that has been approved, Iowa must submit information about those changes to the Department for review and approval, as required by section 1111(f)(2) of Title I. Approval of Iowa's accountability plan is not also an approval of Iowa's standards and assessment system. As Iowa makes changes in its standards and assessments to meet requirements under NCLB, Iowa must submit information about those changes to the Department for peer review through the standards and assessment process.
Please also be aware that approval of Iowa'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.
I am confident that Iowa will continue to advance its efforts to hold schools and school districts accountable for the achievement of all students. I wish you well in your school improvement efforts. If I can be of any additional assistance to Iowa in its efforts to implement other aspects of NCLB, please do not hesitate to call.
Henry L. Johnson
cc: Governor Thomas Vilsack
Amendments to the Iowa Accountability Plan
This attachment is a summary of the amendments. For complete details, please refer to the Iowa accountability plan on the Department's website: http://www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html.
Students with disabilities included in State's definition of AYP (Element 5.3)
Revision: Iowa will use the "proxy method" (Option 1 in our guidance dated May 7, 2005) to take advantage of the Secretary's flexibility regarding calculating AYP for students with disabilities. Iowa 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 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, Iowa will use this adjusted percent proficient to reexamine if the school or district made AYP for the 2004-05 school year.
Graduation rate for high schools (Element 7.1)
Revision: Iowa will allow students with disabilities, on a case-by-case basis, to be included in the graduation rate if they take longer than the standard number of years to graduate with a regular diploma.