December 22, 2000
Dr. John A. Tompkins
Commissioner of Education
Kansas Department of Education
120 South East Tenth Avenue
Topeka, Kansas 66612-1182
Dear Commissioner Tompkins:
It has been a pleasure working with you and your staff as we conclude the review process for Kansas's final assessment system under the Title I. 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 those changes and the evaluation conducted by external peer reviewers and U.S. Department of Education staff, I am pleased to provide approval for Kansas' final assessment system.
I am also pleased to inform you that I am approving Kansas' Ed-Flex application, and delegate to Kansas the authority to waive selected Federal education requirements, subject to the conditions and restrictions in the Education Flexibility Partnership Act of 1999. Kansas 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 Kansas' Ed-Flex application. The Department plans to issue guidance to assist states in the development of these reports in the near future.
Please be aware that approval of Kansas' 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 Kansas' 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 Kansas 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.