May 19, 2004
The Honorable Douglas Christensen
Nebraska Department of Education
301 Centennial Mall, South, 6th Floor
Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-4987
Dear Commissioner Christensen:
I am pleased to approve Nebraska'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 Nebraska's assessment system to meet fully the IASA assessment requirements.
The Department granted Nebraska a waiver of timeline on September 13, 2001, to complete its final assessment system under IASA. Specifically, the timeline waiver required Nebraska to provide: (1) information on the quality of reading and mathematics assessments administered by Nebraska's local school districts to meet IASA requirements; (2) alignment analyses and technical quality reports for LEA assessments; (3) guidance that has been distributed to local school districts for use in implementing IASA standards and assessment requirements; and (4) information on the technical assistance model that Nebraska has provided to local school districts to assist in implementing IASA standards and assessment requirements.
Peer reviewers external to the Department and Department staff have reviewed evidence of compliance submitted by Nebraska. Additionally, Department staff made a follow-up visit to Nebraska to collect additional information to address evidence gaps identified by the peer reviewers. We have concluded that this evidence satisfies the IASA assessment requirements for Title I.
Please be aware that approval of Nebraska'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 Nebraska 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 Nebraska'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 student achievement in your State.