March 8, 2002
Honorable Delaine A. Eastin
Superintendent of Public Instruction
California Department of Education
721 Capitol Mall
Sacramento, California 95814
Dear Superintendent Eastin:
The purpose of this letter is to grant California a waiver of timeline until November 30, 2003 to complete California's final assessment system under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
California has completed many of the requirements for its Statewide Testing and Reporting (STAR) assessment and its High School Exit Examination (HSEE), including providing the Department with information on the technical quality of the STAR and HSEE. This additional time will allow California to complete development and implementation of inclusion policies, performance standards for all components of the assessment system, the California Special Education alternate assessment, and evidence of the alignment of the HSEE with the content and performance standards. When California's assessments are completed and administered in 2003, your agency will need to submit documentation of its development of performance standards, inclusion policies, and participation rates for these assessments and reporting for individual students and schools, and local educational agencies, and on the use of results in your State's accountability system. For the HSEE, you must also address alignment of content and performance standards with the assessments, including providing us with a description of your approach for ensuring alignment, and present a plan for addressing identified gaps or weaknesses in that assessment. For the STAR, you must provide a plan to fill the gaps that were indicated by the alignment study and for meeting the other requirements outlined in your "Response on Waiver of Timeline Reporting."
The waiver will permit California to continue receiving Title I funds while completing the activities needed to finish the STAR, HSEE, and the California Special Education alternate assessment program.
I should also add that the Department is especially concerned that California keep to the timeline for inclusion of limited English proficient students in assessments. In monitoring California's performance during the waiver period, we will pay particular attention to your development and implementation of policies in this area.
If the California Department of Education fails to perform according to the timeline or violates any of the conditions of the waiver, this Department will immediately withhold twenty-five percent of State administrative funds each year, as authorized by section 1111(g)(1)(A) of the Act, until the U. S. Secretary of Education determines that California has met the requirements.
Please understand that this waiver of timeline for California's assessment system for Title I is not a determination that the system complies with Federal civil rights requirements, including 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, and requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
We ask that California provide quarterly updates with supporting documentation regarding its progress in completing the final assessment requirements. The initial report is due to this Department by July 1, 2002. We anticipate your continuous progress in this endeavor. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Susan B. Neuman, Ed. D.