July 26, 2001
William J. Moloney
Commissioner of Education
Colorado Department of Education
201 E. Colfax Avenue, Room 500
Denver, CO 80203
Dear Commissioner Moloney:
I am pleased to approve Colorado's final assessment system under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. We appreciate your cooperation in making the changes in your assessment system that were necessary to meet the requirements of Section 1111(b)(3) and 1116(a) of Title I.
Colorado's 5th and 10th grade performance standards and documentation of the technical manual for the 10th grade assessment were peer reviewed in June and July 2001, and our reviewers recommended for approval. Additionally, Colorado revised the State reporting procedure to report the results of economically disadvantaged students as compared to students who are not economically disadvantaged. On the basis of the submission of this information and the evaluation conducted by external peer reviewers and the U.S. Department of Education staff, we are granting approval of Colorado's final assessment system.
I am also pleased to inform you that I approve Colorado's Ed-Flex application, and delegate to Colorado the authority to waiver selected Federal education requirements, subject to the conditions and restrictions in the Education Flexibility Partnership Act of 1999.
Colorado earned this added flexibility in the implementation of key federal elementary and secondary education programs by fully meeting the standards and assessment requirements in Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and by meeting the other Ed-Flex eligibility requirements, including having a flexibility plan and an accountability system that includes technical assistance and corrective actions in low-performing schools consistent with the requirements of Title I. I am confident that Colorado will be able to use the Ed-Flex authority to further State and local education improvement efforts, to improve student achievement, and to maintain strong accountability for results.
This Ed-Flex delegation is effective for five years from this date. It applies only to waivers sought by individual school districts and schools; the statute does not give States the authority to waive federal requirements that apply to State educational agencies. In addition, the Ed-Flex statute requires that States submit to the Department an annual report that includes performance data on your State's progress toward meeting the education objectives established in Colorado's Ed-Flex application. The Department plans to prepare guidance to assist States in the development of these reports. The guidance should be available for review and comment within the next few months.
Please be aware that approval of Colorado's assessment system for Title I does not mean 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. Finally, please remember that if significant changes are made to Colorado's assessment or accountability system, you must submit information about those changes to the Department as required by section 1111(e)(2) of Title I.
Staff in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education has found it a pleasure working with your staff on this review. Congratulations on a fully approved assessment system. We look forward to working with you as you use Ed-Flex to improve school and student performance in your State.
Susan B. Neuman