June 17, 2009
The Honorable Nancy Grasmick
State Superintendent of Schools
Maryland State Department of Education
200 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201
Dear Superintendent Grasmick:
On behalf of Secretary Duncan, I want to thank you for your hard work in implementing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). As you may know, the Secretary is traveling the country and listening to states, districts, and other stakeholders talk about the ways in which the ESEA can be improved. These conversations will inform the next reauthorization of the statute. In the meantime, we will push towards our reform goals under the authority of, and in accordance with, the existing statute and regulations.
I am writing in response to Maryland's request to amend its state accountability plan under Title I of the ESEA. Following discussions between the Department and your staff, you made changes to Maryland's accountability plan, which are now included in the amended plan that Maryland submitted to the Department on May 20, 2009. I am pleased to approve Maryland’s amended plan, which we will post on the Department's website. A summary of Maryland’s requested amendments is enclosed with this letter. As you know, any further requests to amend Maryland's 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 Maryland'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 Maryland will continue to advance its efforts to hold schools and school districts accountable for the achievement of all students. If you need any additional assistance to implement the standards, assessment, and accountability provisions of the ESEA, please do not hesitate to contact Victoria.Hammer@ed.gov or Valeria.Ford@ed.gov of my staff.
Joseph C. Conaty
cc: Governor Martin O’Malley
Amendments to Maryland's Accountability Plan
The following amendment is aligned with the statute and regulations.
Including students with disabilities in AYP (Element 5.3)
Revision: For 2008–09, Maryland will use the transition flexibility (option 3 in our guidance dated December 2005) regarding calculating AYP for the students with disabilities subgroup in grades 3-5, as authorized by 34 C.F.R. § 200.20(g) (refer to: http://www.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/modachieve-summary.html). For schools that do not make AYP based solely on the students with disabilities subgroup, school Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams will review individual students' IEPs to affirm the identity of those students in grades 3-5 who might have received proficient scores on a modified assessment if one had been available. Maryland will cap student eligibility at 2.0 percent of all students in grades 3-5 assessed at the state and district level.