June 17, 2009
The Honorable Michael P. Flanagan
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Michigan Department of Education
608 W. Allegan Street
Lansing, Michigan 48909
Dear Superintendent Flanagan:
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 representatives from states and school districts, as well as 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 Michigan'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 Michigan's accountability plan, which are now included in the amended state accountability plan that Michigan submitted to the Department on May 1, 2009. I am pleased to approve Michigan's amended plan, which we will post on the Department's website. A summary of Michigan’s requested amendments is enclosed with this letter. As you know, any further requests to amend Michigan'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 Michigan'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 Michigan 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 Vicki.Robinson@ed.gov or David.Harmon@ed.gov of my staff.
Joseph C. Conaty
cc: Governor Jennifer Granholm
Amendments to Michigan's Accountability Plan
The following is a summary of Michigan's amendment requests. Please refer to the Department's website http://www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html for Michigan’s complete accountability plan.
The following amendments are aligned with the statute and regulations.
Including students with disabilities in adequate yearly progress (AYP) (Element 5.3)
Revision: Michigan will use the "proxy method" (option 1 in the Department's guidance dated December 2005 and described in the Department's Non-Regulatory Guidance regarding Modified Academic Achievement Standards, available at: http://www.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/modachieve-summary.html), to take advantage of the transition flexibility authorized by 34 C.F.R. § 200.20(g) regarding calculating AYP for the students with disabilities subgroup. Michigan will calculate a proxy to determine the percentage of students with disabilities that is equivalent to two percent of all students assessed. For the 2008–09 school year only, this proxy will then be added to the percentage of students with disabilities who are proficient or advanced. For any school or district that did not make AYP solely due to its students with disabilities subgroup, Michigan will use this adjusted percentage proficient to re-examine whether the school or district made AYP for the 2008–09 school year.
Graduation rate (Element 7.1)
Revision: Michigan will use a five-year extended adjusted cohort graduation rate for AYP determinations for the 2008–09 school year. If a high school or district does not meet the 80 percent graduation rate goal for its four-year adjusted-cohort graduation rate and does not improves that rate by 10 percent compared to the previous year, the five-year adjusted-cohort rate will be calculated to see if the school or district meets or exceeds the goal of 80 percent. Both the four- and five-year adjusted-cohort graduation rates are lagged, so the 2008–09 AYP determinations will use the five-year adjusted cohort rate for the graduating class of 2007 and the four-year adjusted cohort rate for the graduating class of 2008.
Michigan will report for the 2008–09 school year both the four-year and five-year adjusted-cohort graduation rates on district and school report cards.
Only students who receive a regular (Michigan Merit) high school diploma in five or fewer years are included in the five-year adjusted-cohort graduation rate. For AYP determinations for the 2008–09 school year, the denominator for the five-year adjusted cohort graduation rate is the number of first time freshmen in fall 2003 plus students who transferred in during the 2003–04, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2006–07, and 2007–08 school years minus students who transferred out, emigrated, or died during the 2003–04, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2006–07, and 2007–08 school years.
Note that the graduation rate target is approved only for the 2008-09 school year and that the state must submit information about its goal and targets for future years to the Department for peer review as required in 34 C.F.R. §200.19(b)(6).