June 20, 2006
The Honorable Alice Seagren
Minnesota Department of Education
1500 Highway 36 West
Roseville, MN 55113
Dear Commissioner Seagren:
I am writing in response to Minnesota'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 our discussions with your staff, I am pleased to approve the amendment that is aligned with NCLB; the revised and fully approved plan will be posted on the Department's website. A summary of the approved amendment is enclosed with this letter.
As you know, any further requests to amend the Minnesota 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 Minnesota's accountability plan does not constitute approval of the State's standards and assessment system.
Please also be aware that approval of Minnesota's accountability plan for Title I, including the amendment 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 Minnesota'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 Tim Pawlenty
Amendment to the Minnesota accountability Plan
The following is a summary of the State's approved amendment. Please refer to the Department's website www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html) for the complete Minnesota accountability plan.
Providing information in a timely manner (Elements 1.4 and 6.1)
Revision: Minnesota has submitted a request for approval to delay the release of adequate yearly progress (AYP) determinations beyond the start of the 2006-2007 school year due to the new statewide standards and assessments it implemented this spring. As soon as preliminary data are available, Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) staff will immediately contact schools and districts regarding their AYP status. Schools and districts will be required to follow the process outlined below with respect to consequences.
MDE will ensure that district staff is instructed to use the August 15, 2006 preliminary results to determine if consequences need to be implemented prior to the final public release of test results and AYP determinations in November. On August 15, 2006, schools and/or districts that would be required to implement consequences based on preliminary data will be contacted to confirm their status and inform them of consequences, expectations and timelines. Schools and districts that are currently in any of the AYP consequence stages must continue being in that stage until the final publication of data on November 15, 2006. Schools and districts that move into or further along the AYP consequences must act on preliminary data and begin the improvement process including: parent notification, mandated set-asides, and the appropriate consequence. Please see Document 31 for details.