December 28, 2000
Honorable Valerie Woodruff
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Delaware Department of Education
401 Federal Street, Suite 2
Dover, DE 19903-1402
Dear Superintendent Woodruff:
I am pleased to inform you that I am approving Delaware's Ed-Flex application, and delegate to Delaware the authority to waive selected Federal education requirements, subject to the conditions and restrictions in the Education Flexibility Partnership Act of 1999.
Delaware 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 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.
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 Delaware's Ed-Flex application. The Department plans to issue guidance to assist states in the development of these reports in the near future.
In regard to Delaware's final assessment system, I am pleased that we concluded the review process for Delaware's performance standards and final assessment system under the Title I. Delaware's performance standards for reading and math were judged acceptable in reading/language arts and mathematics and satisfied the Title I requirement for including at least three levels of proficiency. I am pleased to notify you of approval of the Delaware performance standards.
I 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 the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. On the basis of these changes in the policies for including limited English proficient students and the assurances to disaggregate the data for the school profiles, as well as the evaluation conducted by external peer reviewers and U.S. Department of Education staff, I am pleased to provide full approval of Delaware's final assessment system. Enclosed with this letter are detailed comments from the peer review team that evaluated the Delaware assessment documents. We hope this information will be useful to the Delaware Department of Education, providing suggestions that support continued high quality in the assessment system.
Delaware is to be commended for the breadth of their assessment system which, when completed, will include the subject areas of reading, writing, mathematics, science and social studies. Although the system will not be fully implemented until standard setting for science and social studies has been completed in 2002, it is the judgement of this office that the current complete implementation of assessments in reading and mathematics satisfies the minimum requirements of Title I.
Please be aware that approval of Delaware'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 VI 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 Act. Finally, please remember that if significant changes are made to Delaware's assessment and/or accountability system, you must submit information about those changes to the Department as required by section 1111(e)(2) of Title I.
I am confident that Delaware will be able to use the Ed-Flex authority to advance state and local education improvement efforts, to improve student achievement, and to maintain strong accountability for results. We look forward to working with you as you use Ed-Flex to improve school and student performance in your state.