August 18, 2008
The Honorable Richard P. Mills
New York State Education Department
111 Education Building
Albany, New York 12234
Dear Commissioner Mills:
I am writing in response to New York'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). Specifically, New York made one change to its state accountability plan, which is now included in the amended state accountability plan that New York submitted to the Department on August 4, 2008. I am pleased to fully approve New York's amended plan, which we will post on the Department's website. A summary of the amendment submitted for the 2007-08 school year is enclosed with this letter. As you know, any further requests to amend New York'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 New York's accountability plan for Title I, including the amendment 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 New York will continue to hold schools and school districts accountable for the achievement of all students. I wish you well in your school improvement efforts. If you need any additional assistance in implementing the standards, assessment, and accountability provisions of NCLB, please do not hesitate to contact Jessica Morffi (Jessica.firstname.lastname@example.org) or Sharon Hall (Sharon.email@example.com) of my staff.
Kerri L. Briggs, Ph.D.
cc: Governor David Patterson
Amendment to New York's Accountability Plan
The following is a summary of the state's amendment request. Please refer to the Department's website (www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html) for New York's complete accountability plan.
The following amendment is aligned with the statute and regulations.
General clean-up (Elements 3.2a, 3.2b, 3.2c, 4.1, 5.3, and 5.4)
Revision: New York submitted a revised workbook that clarified its language in several elements listed above to indicate approval by the Board of Regents.
Including students with disabilities in adequate yearly progress (Element 5.3)
Revision: New York will use the "proxy method" (option 1 in our guidance dated December 2005) to take advantage of the transition flexibility regarding calculating adequate yearly progress (AYP) for the students with disabilities subgroup, as offered by the Department pursuant to its authority under 34 C.F.R. § 200.20(g). See www.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/modachieve-summary.html. New York will calculate, for grades 3 through 8 only (but not high school), a proxy to determine the percentage of students with disabilities 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 in grades 3 through 8 who score proficient or above. For any school or district that did not make AYP solely due to its students with disabilities subgroup in grades 3 through 8, New York will use this adjusted percentage proficient to re-examine if the school or district made AYP for the 2007-08 school year.
Other Academic Indicator (Element 7.2)
Revision: New York will use science as the other academic indicator for elementary and middle schools. Further, 8 NYCRR§ 100.2(p)(15)(i) and (ii) indicates that performance of schools and local educational agencies on both State grade 4 and grade 8 science tests shall be used as the additional academic indicator.