June 7, 2004
June 7, 2004
Honorable Edward M. Kennedy
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Kennedy:
I am writing this letter to you and your colleagues in response to our February 24, 2004, meeting and your March 10, 2004, letter requesting additional details regarding the U.S. Department of Education's (Department) implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). Undoubtedly, we share a desire to see every student in America meet grade-level expectations in reading and mathematics, the academic foundation needed to achieve success in the classroom and beyond. NCLB is helping us to realize that vision.
The great responsibility entrusted to the Department to implement NCLB is one that I readily embrace because the law is right for our children and our future. This responsibility includes developing policies that accurately reflect the requirements of the bipartisan law created by the Administration and Congress. It means ensuring that States understand the requirements and resources afforded them in statute and regulations, as well as working with States to find viable solutions to the challenges they experience in implementing this major reform. As you know, in the past few months, I have announced additional areas of flexibility involving students with disabilities, limited English proficient students, highly qualified teachers, and assessment participation rates. Your questions on these and many other areas are answered in an attachment to this letter.
In addition to that detailed information, I want to bring to your attention a new link on our website, www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/stateletters/index.html, which provides the public with access to policy letters shared with States. The website also includes a letter outlining the amendment process States should follow in requesting changes to their accountability plans. All amended plans will be posted to our website as they are approved. You may access the State accountability plans at www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html.
I hope the information provided with this letter gives you a clearer picture of the Department's commitment and efforts to faithfully implement NCLB and ensure that every child in America receives a high-quality education. I am encouraged by accounts of the positive impact NCLB is having in schools across the nation, and will continue pressing forward in this great work until the achievement gaps are closed and no child is left behind.