December 19, 2000
Honorable Michael Ward
Superintendent of Public Instruction
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
301 N. Wilmington Street
Raleigh, NC 27601-2825
Dear Superintendent Ward:
I am pleased to inform you that I am approving North Carolina's Ed-Flex application, and delegate to North Carolina the authority to waiver selected Federal education requirements, subject to the conditions and restrictions in the Education Flexibility Partnership Act of 1999.
North Carolina earned this added flexibility in the implementation of key federal elementary and secondary education programs by conditionally 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.
In regard to the assessment eligibility requirements contained in Section 1111(b)(3) of Title I, the plan North Carolina submitted to the Department on December 6, 2000 provides sufficient documentation that the policy to include limited English proficient students will be implemented for the 2000-2001 test administration. North Carolina must submit evidence of the completion of the State's rule making process. At that time, North Carolina will meet the Title I requirements.
This Ed-Flex delegation is effective for five years from this date if the State completes the rulemaking it has committed to undertake to meet the Title I assessment requirements by the 2000-2001 test administration. However, the exercise of Ed-Flex authority beyond the 2000-2001 school year would be subject to the State's timely compliance with the assessment conditions. If North Carolina fails to meet those conditions on time, the State cannot continue to grant waivers and any waivers it grants may not extend beyond the 2000-2001 school year.
Ed-Flex authority applies only to waivers sought by individual school districts and schools; the statute does not give states the authority to waiver 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 North Carolina's Ed-Flex application. The Department Plans to issue guidance to assist states in the development of these reports in the near future.
We look forward to working with you as you use Ed-Flex to improve school and student performance in your state.