January 26, 2004
The Honorable Henry Johnson
Mississippi Department of Education
P.O. Box 771
Jackson, Mississippi 39205-3499
Dear Superintendent Johnson:
I am pleased to approve Mississippi’s assessment system under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), 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 Mississippi a waiver of timeline on March 26, 2001, to complete its final assessment system under IASA. Specifically, the timeline waiver required Mississippi to: 1) submit performance standards; 2) complete its alternate assessments and include the results for those assessments in accountability determinations; and 3) provide the Department with technical reports and alignment studies pertaining to Mississippi’s standards and assessment system.
Peer reviewers external to the Department and Department staff have reviewed evidence of compliance submitted by Mississippi. We have concluded that this evidence satisfies the IASA assessment requirements for Title I.
Please be aware that approval of Mississippi’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. Finally, please remember that if Mississippi 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 Mississippi'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.