FR Doc E8-26862[Federal Register: November 13, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 220)]
[Notices]               
[Page 67307-67347]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr13no08-107] 


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Part III





Department of Education





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Compliance Agreement; Notice


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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

 
Compliance Agreement

AGENCY: Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice of written findings and compliance agreement with the 
Hawaii Department of Education.

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SUMMARY: This notice is being published in the Federal Register 
consistent with section 457(b)(2) of the General Education Provisions 
Act (GEPA). Section 457 of GEPA authorizes the U.S. Department of 
Education (the Department) to enter into a compliance agreement with a 
recipient that is failing to comply substantially with Federal program 
requirements. In order to enter into a compliance agreement, the 
Department must determine, in written findings, that the recipient 
cannot comply with the applicable program requirements until a future 
date and that a compliance agreement is a viable means of bringing 
about such compliance.
    On August 29, 2008, the Department entered into a compliance 
agreement with the Hawaii Department of Education (HIDOE). Section 
457(b)(2) of GEPA requires the Department to publish written findings 
leading to a compliance agreement, with a copy of the compliance 
agreement, in the Federal Register.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Valeria Ford, U.S. Department of 
Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, 400 Maryland 
Avenue, SW., room 3W118, Washington, DC 20202-6132. Telephone: (202) 
260-0826.
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may 
call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1-800-877-8339.
    Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an 
alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer 
diskette) on request to the contact person listed under FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Title I of the Elementary and Secondary 
Education Act of 1965 (Title I), as amended by the No Child Left Behind 
Act of 2001, requires each State receiving Title I funds to satisfy 
certain requirements.
    Under Title I, each State was required to adopt academic content 
and student academic achievement standards in at least mathematics, 
reading or language arts, and, beginning in the 2005-2006 school year, 
science. These standards must include the same knowledge and levels of 
achievement expected of all public school students in the State. 
Content standards must specify what all students are expected to know 
and be able to do; contain coherent and rigorous content; and encourage 
the teaching of advanced skills. Achievement standards must be aligned 
with the State's academic content standards and must describe at least 
three levels of proficiency to determine how well students in each 
grade are mastering the content standards. A State must provide 
descriptions of the competencies associated with each student's 
academic achievement level and must determine the assessment scores 
(``cut scores'') that differentiate among the achievement levels.
    Title I also requires each State to implement a student assessment 
system used to evaluate whether students are mastering the subject 
material reflected in the State's academic content standards. By the 
2005-2006 school year, States were required to administer mathematics 
and reading or language arts assessments yearly during grades 3-8 and 
once during grades 10-12. Further, beginning with the 2007-2008 school 
year, each State was required to administer a science assessment in at 
least one grade in each of the following grade spans: 3-5, 6-9, and 10-
12.
    In addition to a general assessment, Title I requires States to 
develop and administer at least one alternate assessment for students 
with disabilities who cannot participate in the general assessment, 
with or without accommodations. An alternate assessment may be based on 
grade-level achievement standards, alternate achievement standards, or 
modified achievement standards. Like the general assessment, any 
alternate assessment must satisfy the requirements for high technical 
quality, including validity, reliability, accessibility, objectivity, 
and consistency with nationally recognized professional and technical 
standards.
    In August 2007, HIDOE submitted evidence of its standards and 
assessment system. The Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary 
Education (Assistant Secretary) submitted that evidence to a panel of 
experts for peer review. Following that review, the Assistant Secretary 
concluded that HIDOE's standards and assessment system did not meet a 
number of the Title I requirements.
    Section 454 of GEPA, 20 U.S.C. 1234c, sets out the remedies 
available to the Department when it determines that a recipient ``is 
failing to comply substantially with any requirement of law'' 
applicable to Federal program funds the Department administers. 
Specifically, the Department is authorized to--
    (1) Withhold funds;
    (2) Compel compliance through a cease and desist order;
    (3) Enter into a compliance agreement with the recipient; or
    (4) Take any other action authorized by law. 20 U.S.C. 1234c(a).
    In a letter dated October 30, 2007, to Patricia Hamamoto, 
Superintendent of Education for HIDOE, the Assistant Secretary notified 
HIDOE that, to remain eligible to receive Title I funds, it would have 
to enter into a compliance agreement with the Department. The purpose 
of a compliance agreement is ``to bring the recipient into full 
compliance with the applicable requirements of law as soon as feasible 
and not to excuse or remedy past violations of such requirements.'' 20 
U.S.C. 1234f(a). In order to enter into a compliance agreement with a 
recipient, the Department must determine, in written findings, that the 
recipient cannot comply until a future date with the applicable program 
requirements and that a compliance agreement is a viable means for 
bringing about such compliance.
    In accordance with the requirements of section 457(b) of GEPA, 20 
U.S.C. 1234f(b), on March 27, 2008, Department officials conducted a 
public hearing in Hawaii to assess whether a compliance agreement with 
HIDOE might be appropriate. Patricia Hamamoto, the Superintendent of 
Education for HIDOE, and Dr. Robert Campbell, the Director of Program 
Support and Development for HIDOE, testified at this hearing. The 
Department considered the testimony provided at the March 2008 public 
hearing and all other relevant information and materials and concluded 
that HIDOE would not be able to correct its non-compliance with Title I 
standards and assessment requirements immediately.
    On August 29, 2008, the Assistant Secretary issued written 
findings, holding that compliance by HIDOE with the Title I standards 
and assessment requirements is genuinely not feasible until a future 
date. Under Title I, HIDOE was required to implement its final 
assessment system no later than the 2005-2006 school year. The evidence 
that HIDOE submitted in August 2007 indicated that, well after the 
statutory deadline had passed, its standards and assessment system 
still did not fully meet Title I requirements. In addition, due to the 
enormity and complexity of the work needed to bring HIDOE's standards 
and assessment system into full compliance, HIDOE cannot

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immediately comply with all of the Title I requirements.
    The Assistant Secretary also determined that a compliance agreement 
represents a viable means of bringing about compliance because of the 
steps HIDOE has already taken to comply and the plan it has developed 
for further action. The compliance agreement sets out the action plan 
that HIDOE must implement to come into compliance with Title I 
requirements. This plan, coupled with specific reporting requirements, 
will allow the Assistant Secretary to monitor closely HIDOE's progress 
in meeting the terms of the compliance agreement.
    The Superintendent of Education for HIDOE, Patricia Hamamoto, 
signed the compliance agreement on July 30, 2008, and the Assistant 
Secretary signed the compliance agreement on August 29, 2008.
    As required by section 457(b)(2) of GEPA, 20 U.S.C. 1234f(b)(2), 
the text of the Assistant Secretary's written findings is set forth as 
Appendix A and the compliance agreement is set forth as Appendix B of 
this notice.

Electronic Access to This Document

    You may view this document, as well as all other Department of 
Education documents published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe 
Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at the following site: 
http://www.ed.gov/news/fedregister.
    To use PDF, you must have the Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is 
available free at this site. If you have questions about using PDF, 
call the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), toll free, at 1-888-
293-6498; or in the Washington, DC area at (202) 512-1530.

    Note: The official version of a document is the document 
published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the 
official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal 
Regulations is available on GPO Access at: 
http://www.gpoaccess.gov/nara/index.html.

(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1234c, 1234f)

    Dated: November 6, 2008.
Kerri L. Briggs,
Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education.
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[FR Doc. E8-26862 Filed 11-12-08; 8:45 am]

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