July 18, 2014
The Honorable Lillian Lowery
State Superintendent of Schools
Maryland State Department of Education
200 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201
Dear Superintendent Lowery:
This letter is a response to Maryland’s March 25, 2014 request for a one-year extension of flexibility under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA flexibility), so that Maryland may continue to implement ESEA flexibility through the end of the 2014–2015 school year.
Our team has reviewed Maryland’s request and, pursuant to section 9401(d)(2) of the ESEA, I am pleased to extend Maryland’s ESEA flexibility request for one year, through the end of the 2014–2015 school year. My decision to extend Maryland’s ESEA flexibility request is based on my determination that ESEA flexibility has been effective in enabling Maryland to carry out important reforms to improve student achievement and that this extension is in the public interest. This letter also marks my approval of Maryland’s proposed amendments to Principle 2 of its ESEA flexibility request. A summary of Maryland’s approved amendments is enclosed with this letter, and Maryland’s approved request will be posted on the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) website.
This extension is subject to Maryland’s commitment to continue working with ED on Maryland’s requested amendments to its teacher and principal evaluation and support systems, which may require additional flexibility. Maryland’s continued work with ED on its requested amendments to Principle 3 will inform ED’s decision regarding renewal of Maryland’s ESEA flexibility after the 2014–2015 school year.
Maryland 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 ESEA flexibility. 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 Maryland will continue to implement the reforms described in its approved ESEA flexibility request and advance its efforts to hold schools and school districts accountable for the achievement of all students. If you need any additional assistance to implement your ESEA flexibility request, please do not hesitate to contact Victoria Hammer at: firstname.lastname@example.org or Tanesha Hembrey at: email@example.com Thank you for your commitment and continued focus on enhancing education for all of Maryland’s students.
Deborah S. Delisle
cc: Mary Gable, Assistant State Superintendent