December 8, 2003
The Honorable James W. Horne
Commissioner of Education
Florida Department of Education
325 West Gaines Street, Suite 1514
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
Dear Commissioner Horne:
I am pleased to approve Florida’s assessment system under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the Improving America’s Schools Act of 1994 (IASA). I appreciate your cooperation in making the changes in your assessment system to meet fully the IASA assessment requirements.
The Department granted Florida a waiver of timeline on October 24, 2001, so that the State could revise its exemption policy for the assessment of limited English proficient (LEP) students and communicate that revision to school districts. The purpose of this policy revision was to ensure that LEP students who had been in school for a full academic year participate in the State assessment and accountability system, as required by IASA.
Department staff has reviewed Administrative Rule 6A-6.09091 (Accommodations of the Statewide Assessment Program Instruments and Procedure for Limited English Proficient Students) and student academic achievement data submitted by Florida. We have concluded that this evidence satisfies the IASA assessment requirements for Title I.
Please be aware that approval of Florida’s assessment system 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. Finally, please remember that if Florida makes significant changes to its assessment system, the State must submit information about those changes to the Department for review and approval.
We have found it a pleasure working with your staff on this review. Congratulations on a fully approved assessment system under IASA. We look forward to working with you as you expand Florida's assessment system to meet the new Title I requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, and wish you well in your efforts to improve school and student performance in your state.
Ronald J. Tomalis
Acting Assistant Secretary