August 5, 2002
Honorable Gene Wilhoit
Commissioner of Education
Kentucky Department of Education
Capitol Plaza Tower - 500 Mero Street
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601
Dear Commissioner Wilhoit:
I am pleased to approve Kentucky's final assessment system. I appreciate your cooperation in making the necessary changes to your assessment system in order to meet the 1994 requirements of Title I.
In July of 2001, this Department granted a waiver of timeline to Kentucky so that you would have time to revise your exemption policy for limited English proficient (LEP) students and to communicate that revision to school districts. The purpose of this policy revision was to ensure that LEP students who have been in school for a full academic year would participate in the State's assessment system. My staff have reviewed the information you submitted and have concluded that this evidence satisfies the 1994 requirements of Title I and releases Kentucky from the conditions in the waiver.
We would be remiss, however, if we did not point out that your policy exempting from assessment students who have not attended schools in a district for a full academic year is in conflict with our interpretation of section 1111(b)(3)(C)(xi) of the ESEA as reauthorized by the No Child Left Behind Act. Under our final standards and assessment regulations for the reauthorized Act, students with less than a full academic year in attendance may be excluded from the determination of school or district progress (accountability), but not from participation in assessments. I must advise you to please review those regulations as well as our forthcoming regulations on accountability so that Kentucky will be able to continue to comply with the statute.
Please be aware that approval of Kentucky's assessment system for Title I does not mean 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.
Staff in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education have found it a pleasure working with your staff on this review. Congratulations on a fully approved assessment system. We look forward to working with you as you expand the Commonwealth Accountability Testing System to meet the current requirements under Title I and continue the improvement of school and student performance in Kentucky.
Susan B. Neuman, Ed.D.