January 6, 2010
The Honorable Odette Pineiro Caballero
Secretary of Education
Puerto Rico Department of Education
Post Office Box 190759
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00919-0759
Dear Secretary Caballero:
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 of states and 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 Puerto Rico's request to amend its state accountability plan under Title I of the ESEA. Following discussions between the Department and your staff, you made a number of changes to Puerto Rico's accountability plan, which are now included in the amended state accountability plan that Puerto Rico submitted to the Department on December 8, 2009. I am pleased to approve Puerto Rico's amended plan, which we will post on the Department's website. A summary of Puerto Rico's requested amendments is enclosed with this letter. As you know, any further requests to amend Puerto Rico'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 Puerto Rico'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 Puerto Rico 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 Valeria.Ford@ed.gov of my staff.
Thelma Meléndez de Santa Ana, Ph.D.
cc: Governor Luis Fortuno
Amendments to Puerto Rico's Accountability Plan
The following is a summary of Puerto Rico's amendment requests. Please refer to the Department's website http://www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.htmlfor Puerto Rico’s complete accountability plan.
The following amendments are aligned with the statute and regulations.
Definition of new School (Element 1.1)
Revision: The Circular Letter 22-2006-2007 and Guide to Identify the Improvement Scale Status are used to designate the improvement status of a school where there has been a significant change to its student body, faculty, leadership, or location as a result of the school being closed, opened, consolidated, or divided. A consolidated or new school will adopt the improvement status of the school that provided the majority of the students.
Achievement standards (Element 1.2)
Revision: Puerto Rico revised its content standards during school year 2007-08 and new tests were administered in 2008-09 to assess the new content standards.
Definition of achievement levels (Element 1.3)
Revision: Puerto Rico has adopted four student achievement levels: Below Basic, Basic, Proficient, and Advanced.
Including all schools in adequate yearly progress (AYP) determinations (Element 3.2a)
Revision: Puerto Rico will aggregate data for three consecutive years for determining AYP if fewer than 30 students are tested.
Including all schools in AYP determinations (Element 3.2a)
Revision: In light of its implementation of a new assessment beginning in the 2008–2009 school year, Puerto Rico will phase in its use of the uniform averaging procedure for determining AYP, as follows:
- 2008-09 AYP decisions will be based on 2008-09 assessment results only;
- 2009-10 AYP decisions will be based on the average of the 2008-09 and 2009-10 assessment results; and
- Beginning in 2010-11, AYP decisions will be based on the average of the most recent three years.