August 20, 2013
The Honorable John Barge
Superintendent of Schools
State Department of Education
2066 Twin Towers East
Atlanta, GA 30334
Dear Superintendent Barge:
I am writing in response to Georgia's request to extend approval of ESEA flexibility through the end of the 2013-2014 school year. Currently, Georgia's request is approved through the 2012-2013 school year, subject to the condition that Georgia finalizes the College and Career-Ready Performance Index, which will be an integral part of new differentiated recognition, accountability, and support system. On August 12, 20 13, Georgia provided a revised version of its request reflecting this work. Based on this evidence, I am pleased to remove the condition from Georgia's ESEA flexibility request and extend approval of Georgia's request through the 2013-2014 school year. At that time, Georgia may request an additional extension of these waivers, like other States with approved requests.
I am also pleased to inform you that the U.S. Department of Education (ED) has determined that Georgia's guidelines for teacher and principal evaluation and support systems, and the corresponding changes Georgia made to Principle 3 of its approved ESEA Flexibility request, meet the requirements for Principle 3 articulated in ED's September 23 , 2011, document titled ESEA Flexibility. Please note that meeting these requirements does not impact Georgia’s status with respect to other ED grant programs, including Georgia's high-risk designation for the teacher and principal evaluation work under its Race to the Top plan.While Georgia prepared materials to support removal of the condition on its approved request for ESEA flexibility, it announced in a July 22, 2013 press release that it withdrew from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness of College and Careers Race to the Top assessment consortium. Consequently, Georgia must amend its approved request for ESEA flexibility to indicate how it proposes to meet the requirement that States develop and administer a high-quality statewide assessment by the 2014-2015 school year. ED will process this amendment request via the process established for States to amend their approved requests.
Georgia continues to have an affirmative responsibility to ensure that it and its districts are in compliance with Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, and age in their implementation of ESE A flexibility as well as their implementation of all other Federal education programs. These laws include 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, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
I am confident that Georgia will continue to implement the reforms it proposed under its approved ESEA flexibility request and advance its efforts to hold schools and school districts accountable for the achievement of all students. If you have any questions regarding the implementation of your ESEA flexibility request, please do not hesitate to contact Jessica Skrebes or Victoria Hammer of my staff at: Jessica.Skrebes@ed.gov Victoria.Hammer@ed.gov.
Deborah S. Delisle
cc: Martha Reichrath, Deputy Superintendent