September 5, 2001
Honorable Raymond J. Simon
General Education Division
Arkansas Department of Education
Four State Capitol Mall, Room 304 A
Little Rock, Arkansas 72201-1071
Dear Director Simon:
I am responding to your request for a waiver of timeline until November 2002 for meeting the final assessment requirements of Title I, so that Arkansas can complete the actions on the schedule laid out in your letter of May 9, 2001.
Clearly, Arkansas is on track in the development and implementation of its assessment system in grades 4 and 8. The additional time provided under the waiver will allow Arkansas to complete the grade 6 assessments in math and literacy, and the end-of-course assessments in algebra I, geometry and literacy. When these assessments are completed and administered in 2002, you will need to submit documentation of Arkansas' development of performance standards, inclusion policies, and participation rates for these assessments, alignment of content standards to the assessments, technical quality and reporting, and use of results in accountability.
Failure of the State to complete the activities as scheduled may make it necessary for this office to consider the other courses of action available to the Department. Potential actions include requiring Arkansas to enter into a compliance agreement in order to remain eligible to receive Title I funds or initiating proceedings to withhold Title I funds from the State. However, with Arkansas' proven track record, I am confident none of these steps will be necessary.
Please provide quarterly updates of progress in completing the Title I assessment requirements. Please submit evidence of your completion of all of the action steps to the Department's Title I office on or before November 30, 2002.
We will work with you and your staff to support and monitor the implementation of your timeline waiver. If you would like to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Susan B. Neuman, Ed. D.