March 15, 2005
Ms. Patricia N. Willoughby
Superintendent of Public Instruction
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
301 North Wilmington Street
Raleigh, NC 27601-2825
Dear Superintendent Willoughby:
I am writing in response to North Carolina'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, those changes that are aligned with NCLB are now included in an amended State accountability plan that North Carolina submitted to the Department on February 17, 2005. A list of the changes is attached to this letter. I am pleased to fully approve North Carolina's amended plan, which we will post on the Department’s website.
If, over time, North Carolina makes changes to the accountability plan that has been approved, North Carolina 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 North Carolina's accountability plan is not also an approval of North Carolina's standards and assessment system. As North Carolina makes changes in its standards and assessments to meet requirements under NCLB, North Carolina 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 North Carolina'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 North Carolina 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 North Carolina in its efforts to implement other aspects of NCLB, please do not hesitate to call.
cc: Governor Mike Easley
Amendments to the North Carolina Accountability Plan
These statements are summaries of the amendments. For complete details, please refer to the North Carolina Accountability plan on the Department's website: www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html
Beginning with adequate yearly progress (AYP) determinations for high schools for the 2004-2005 school year, North Carolina will use the State's end-of-course assessments in English I and Grade 10 writing for reading/language arts and Algebra I for mathematics. North Carolina has revised the following elements of its accountability plan to reflect the State's change in high school assessments for AYP purposes:
- Element 1.3 Accountability system incorporates academic achievement standards.
- Element 2.2 The accountability system has a consistent definition of full academic year.
- Element 3.2a Accountability system establishes a starting point.
- Element 3.2b Accountability system establishes statewide annual measurable objectives.
- Element 3.2c Accountability system establishes intermediate goals.
- Element 5.3 The accountability system includes students with disabilities.
- Element 5.4 The accountability system includes limited English proficient students.
- Element 6.1 Accountability system is based primarily on academic assessments.