October 16, 2000
Honorable Eugene Hickok
Secretary of Education
State Department of Education
333 Market Street333 Market Street
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17126
Dear Secretary Hickok:
I am pleased to inform you that I am approving Pennsylvania's Ed-Flex application, and delegate to Pennsylvania the authority to waiver selected Federal education requirements, subject to the conditions and restrictions in the Education Flexibility Partnership Act of 1999.
Pennsylvania earned this added flexibility in the implementation of key federal elementary and secondary education programs by fully 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.
I appreciate the work of your staff to provide us with the information and clarifications necessary to review Pennsylvania's assessment and accountability system, and your cooperation in making the necessary changes in your assessment system to meet the federal requirements. I am confident that Pennsylvania will be able to use the Ed-Flex authority to further state and local education improvement efforts, to improve student achievement, and to maintain strong accountability for results.
This Ed-Flex delegation is effective for five years from this date. It 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 Pennsylvania's Ed-Flex application. The Department Plans to prepare guidance to assist states in the development of these reports. The guidance should be available for review and comment within the next few months.
Finally, please remember that if significant changes are made to Pennsylvania's assessment and/or accountability system, you must submit information about those changes to the Department as required by section 1111(e)(2) of Title I. In addition, approval of Pennsylvania'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 VI 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 Act.
We look forward to working with you as you use Ed-Flex to improve school and student performance in your state.