July 6, 2009
The Honorable Robert Scott
Texas Education Agency
1701 North Congress
Austin, Texas 78701
Dear Commissioner Scott:
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 officials in states and school 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 Texas’ request to amend its state accountability plan under Title I of the ESEA. Following discussions between the Department and your staff, Texas made two changes to its accountability plan, which are now included in the amended plan that Texas submitted to the Department on June 12, 2009. I am pleased to approve Texas’ amended plan, which we will post on the Department’s website. A summary of Texas’ requested amendments is enclosed with this letter. As you know, any further requests to amend Texas’ 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 Texas’ 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 Texas 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 Patrick.Rooney@ed.gov or Grace.Ross@ed.gov of my staff.
Joseph C. Conaty
cc: Governor Rick Perry
Amendments to Texas's Accountability Plan
The following is a summary of Texas’ amendment requests. Please refer to the Department’s website www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html for Texas’ complete accountability plan.
The following amendments are aligned with the statute and regulations.
Including all schools and districts in adequate yearly progress (AYP) determinations (Element 1.2, 1.5, and 1.6)
Revision: Texas will exclude the results of students attending a school that is designated as a Texas Youth Commission (TYC) or Texas Juvenile Probation Commission (TJPC) campus from district AYP determinations for the district in which the campus is located. Such campuses will receive a school-level AYP determination and will be included in state-level AYP determinations.
Revision: Due to the impact of Hurricanes Ike, Dolly, and Gustave and Tropical Storm Edouard, the state and its districts may implement the delay provisions in sections 1116(b)(7)(D) and 1116(c)(10)(F) of the ESEA for districts or campuses that were closed for ten or more instructional days due to these natural disasters and that are located in a county designated by FEMA as a disaster area that qualifies for individual or public assistance. In addition, any school or district not closed for 10 or more days that did not make AYP due to the students in the school or district displaced by Hurricane Ike will also implement the delay provisions. Accordingly, Texas will implement school or district improvement activities for these districts and campuses as follows:
If the districts or schools made AYP based on assessments administered in 2008–09, they would be given their earned AYP designation.
If the districts or schools did not make AYP based on assessments administered in 2008–09:
If these districts and schools were identified for improvement in the 2008–09 school year, they would continue with their existing school improvement identification for the 2009–10 school year and offer the same level of interventions.
If the district or school misses AYP in the 2009–10 school year, it would advance on the improvement timeline in the 2010–11 school year.
Districts or schools that did not make AYP for the first time based on the 2007–08 assessments and thus had no 2008–09 school improvement identification would not advance into improvement in 2009–10; if they do not make AYP in 2009–10, they would enter school improvement in 2010–11.
Schools or districts in improvement that made AYP for the first time based upon assessments administered in 2007–08 and that made AYP in 2008–09 would also exit school improvement.
Schools and districts in improvement that made AYP for the first time based upon assessments administered in 2007–08, did not make AYP in 2008–09, and made AYP in 2009–10 would exit school improvement.
Including a growth model in AYP determinations (Element 3.2)
Revision: As approved by the Department through a flexibility agreement, Texas will implement a growth model as a means of determining AYP for schools and districts. For details regarding the proposal, including the approval letter, refer to: www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/growthmodel/tx/index.html.