June 29, 2005
Dr. Janice Davis
Director of Public Instruction
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
301 North Wilmington Street
Raleigh, NC 27601-2825
Dear Dr. Davis:
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). The changes you requested are aligned with NCLB and are now included in an amended State accountability plan that North Carolina submitted to the Department on June 15, 2005. The changes are listed in an attachment 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. In addition, if any findings regarding North Carolina's accountability plan result from the recent monitoring review by the Student Achievement and School Accountability office, North Carolina would need to amend its plan to address those findings.
Approval of North Carolina's accountability plan is not also an approval of North Carolina's standards and assessment system. North Carolina has submitted changes in its standards and assessment system to the Department for peer review and we have communicated the results of that review separately.
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
This attachment is a summary 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.
Modified achievement standards (Element 3.2)
Revision: North Carolina will use the "proxy method" (Option 1 in ED’s guidance dated May 7, 2005) to take advantage of the Secretary's flexibility related to modified achievement standards. North Carolina will calculate a proxy to determine the percentage of special education students 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 that did not make AYP solely due to its students with disabilities subgroup, North Carolina will use this adjusted percent proficient to re-examine if the school made AYP for the 2004-05 school year.
District Identification (Element 5.5)
Revision: In order for a local educational agency (LEA) to enter Improvement Status, the LEA must not make AYP in the same subject area (reading/language arts or mathematics even if because of the 95% rule) in each of the following grade spans [3-5, 6-8, and high school] for two consecutive years.
LEA Appeals Process (Element 9.2)
Revision: An LEA may appeal its designation for LEA Improvement Status to the Title I Committee of Practitioners. The LEA will have two weeks to appeal and, by the authority of the State Board of Education, the State Superintendent will make a final determination for the LEA.