Date: March 21, 2013
The Honorable Diane DeBacker
Commissioner of Education
Kansas State Department of Education
120 South East 10th Avenue
Topeka, KS 66612
Dear Commissioner DeBacker:
I am writing to inform you of the outcome of the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED’s) review of Kansas’ guidelines for teacher and principal evaluation and support systems. During the week of July 16, 2012, two peer experts reviewed Kansas’ guidelines and the corresponding changes to Principle 3 of Kansas’ request. ED staff also reviewed Kansas’ submission, and both the peers and ED provided feedback to Kansas regarding its submission.
Based on the review of Kansas’ guidelines, the corresponding changes to Principle 3 of its ESEA flexibility request, and the information Kansas submitted on October 5, 2012, in response to peer and ED feedback, it is determined that Kansas has not yet adopted guidelines for teacher and principal evaluation and support systems that meet all requirements of ESEA flexibility.
In particular, Kansas has not yet adopted a method for including student growth as a significant factor in the teacher and principal evaluation and support systems that local education agencies in Kansas will use. Moreover, Kansas has not yet determined the process for using teacher and principal evaluation and support system results for continual improvement of instruction or determined the measures of student achievement that it will include as part of the teacher and principal evaluation and support systems (in addition to the statewide assessments). The determination that Kansas has not yet adopted a method for including student growth as a significant factor is consistent with the condition that we placed on the July 19, 2012 approval of Kansas’ request for ESEA flexibility. At the time of approval of Kansas’ request, ED was not aware that the State would also need to address the additional requirements for teacher and principal support and evaluation systems identified above. Accordingly, in order to receive full approval of its ESEA flexibility request through the 2013–2014 school year, Kansas must continue its work to satisfy the condition placed on the approval of its request and address how its guidelines meet the additional requirements listed above. Therefore, Kansas must, prior to the end of the 2012–2013 school year, submit evidence demonstrating that it has satisfied the condition and addressed the other requirements identified above, as well as request an extension of the approval of its request, as indicated in my July 19, 2012 letter.
Please keep in mind that Kansas must submit evidence that satisfies the condition originally placed on its approved request as well as the additional outstanding requirements identified above before receiving approval to continue implementing ESEA flexibility during the 2013–2014 school year. Should Kansas make any other changes that affect its implementation of ESEA flexibility, it may need to amend its approved ESEA flexibility request. If you have any questions regarding the amendment process or anything else related to Kansas’ implementation of ESEA flexibility, please contact Clayton Hollingshead at (202) 260-1593 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A copy of Kansas’ Principle 3 submission, including its current draft guidelines for teacher and principal evaluation and support systems, will be posted on ED’s web site at: www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/esea-flexibility/index.html.
I look forward to Kansas’ continued progress in fully implementing ESEA flexibility and to continuing to support the State as you work to improve the quality of instruction and academic achievement for all students in Kansas. Thank you for your commitment to all students in Kansas.
Deborah S. Delisle
Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
cc: Judi Miller, Assistant Director of Federal Programs