July 9, 2001
Honorable Gene Wilhoit
Commissioner of Education
Kentucky Department of Education
Capitol Plaza Tower - 500 Mero Street
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601
Dear Commissioner Wilhoit:
The purpose of this letter is to respond to your request for a one-year waiver of timeline related to the requirement for inclusion of limited English proficient (LEP) students in student assessments administered under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Act.
In May 2000, the Department granted Kentucky conditional approval of its final assessment system under Title I. The changes required in order to gain full approval were: (1) a revision of the exclusion policy to meet with the Title I requirements, and (2) a modification of reports to display the performance of all subgroups required under section 1111(b)(3)(I) of Title I. In July 2000, Kentucky submitted a sample of the Kentucky Performance Report demonstrating that the Commonwealth had met the second requirement. Subsequently, in April of this year you submitted to me a request for a waiver of the LEP inclusion requirement so that Kentucky can use its current LEP policy for one more year.
We understand that, during the next year, Kentucky will revise its exemption policy and develop a communication and professional development plan to ensure the participation of all LEP students who have been in school for a full year. On the basis of Kentucky's demonstrated commitment to accountability for all students, we agree to grant a one-year waiver of the timeline for completion of the Commonwealth's final assessment system. This waiver will permit Kentucky to continue receiving Title I funds while completing activities designed to prepare schools and districts to maximize the participation of LEP students in the Commonwealth's assessment.
The waiver will expire on June 30, 2002. Before that date, Kentucky must provide the Department with evidence that the Kentucky Department of Education has revised its inclusion procedures in a manner consistent with the Federal statute and has communicated the new procedures to local educational agencies.
Communication and technical assistance must occur with ample time for local school districts to implement the new procedure for the test administration immediately after the waiver period. Kentucky must also submit participation data on students with limited English proficiency from the 2002-2003 school year test administration to confirm implementation of the new procedure.
Please understand that this waiver of timeline for Kentucky'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 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.
We look forward to Kentucky's submission of evidence for full approval.
Thomas M. Corwin
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary