October 24, 2001
Honorable Charlie Crist
Florida Department of Education
Plaza Level -08
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0400
Dear Commissioner Crist:
I am responding to Florida's plan for meeting the final assessment requirements of Title I contained in the September 21, 2001 letter from Deputy Commissioner for Educational Programs, Betty Coxe. The letter and accompanying plan state that Florida is implementing the plan for the 2001-2002 test administration and will, therefore, meet the Title I requirements by December 1, 2002. Based on this plan, I am granting Florida a waiver of the timeline for having its final assessment system in place until December 2002. I am also pleased to inform you that Florida's performance standards at the elementary, middle, and high school levels are approved.
To meet the Title I requirements, Florida has agreed to implement an accountability system for schools receiving Title I funds that will include the results of students who take alternate assessments, all Exceptional Student Education (ESE) students who take the Florida Comprehensive Achievement Test (FCAT), and limited English proficient students who take the FCAT after receiving services one year or less. Florida has also agreed to revise the administrative criteria for testing limited English proficient students to allow students receiving services for one year or less to be tested.
Failure of your agency to complete the activities described in its plan may make it necessary for this office to consider the other courses of action available to the Department. Potential actions include requiring Florida 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. Please submit evidence of your completion of all of the action steps to the Department's Title I office on or before December 1, 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.