March 21, 2001
Honorable Jim Nelson
Commissioner of Education
Texas Education Agency
William B. Travis Building
1701 North Congress Avenue
Austin, Texas 78701
Dear Commissioner Nelson:
I am pleased to inform you that I am approving Texas' Ed-Flex application, and delegate to Texas the authority to waive selected Federal education requirements, subject to the conditions and restrictions in the Education Flexibility Partnership Act of 1999.
Texas earned this added flexibility in the implementation of key Federal elementary and secondary education programs by 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 provides technical assistance and corrective actions in low-performing schools consistent with the requirements of Title I.
This Ed-Flex delegation is effective for five years from this date. Ed-Flex authority applies only to waivers sought by individual school districts and schools; the statute does not give States the authority to waive 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 Texas' Ed-Flex application. The Department plans to issue guidance to assist States in the development of these reports in the near future.
In regard to the assessment eligibility requirements contained in Section 1111(b)(3) of Title I, the plan Texas submitted to the Department on January 12, 2001 along with subsequent clarification from the Texas Education Agency, documents that students with disabilities are being included in the assessment and accountability system in accordance with the Title I requirements. I am, therefore, providing full approval of Texas' final assessment system for Title I purposes. This approval is based on Texas' policies and practices continuing to be consistent with Title I requirements. Any change in these policies or practices may affect Texas' approval for both Title I and Ed-Flex purposes.
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Please be aware that approval of Texas' 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.
Finally, as noted previously, please remember that if significant changes are made to Texas' assessment or accountability system, you must submit information about those changes to the Department as required by section 1111(e)(2) of Title I.
We look forward to working with you as you use Ed-Flex to improve school and student performance in your state.
Thomas M. Corwin
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary