July 19, 2006
Dr. Betty Sternberg
Connecticut State Department of Education
165 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, CT 06145
Dear Commissioner Sternberg:
I am writing in response to Connecticut's request to amend its State accountability plan under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). Following our discussions with your staff, the changes that are aligned with NCLB are now included in an amended State accountability plan that Connecticut submitted to the Department on July 10, 2006. I am pleased to fully approve Connecticut's amended accountability plan. The revised and fully approved plan will be posted on the Department's website. A summary of the approved amendments is enclosed with this letter. With regard to the Connecticut's proposal to allow local educational agencies (LEAs) that are in need of improvement to provide supplemental educational services to students in schools that are in need of improvement, the Secretary explained that she is currently reviewing the results of this pilot program and will be making a decision about the continuation or expansion of the program in the near future (please see http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/secletter/060515.html).
As you know, any additional requests to amend the Connecticut accountability plan must be submitted to the Department for review and approval as required by section 1111(f)(2) of Title I. Please note that approval of Connecticut's accountability plan does not constitute approval of the State's standards and assessment system.
Please also be aware that approval of Connecticut's accountability plan for Title I, including the amendments approved above, does not indicate that the plan 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.
NCLB has provided a vehicle for States to raise the achievement of all students and to close the achievement gap. We are seeing the results of our combined endeavor; achievement is rising throughout the nation. I appreciate Connecticut's efforts to raise the achievement of all students and hold all schools accountable. If you need any additional assistance to implement the standards, assessments, and accountability provisions of NCLB, please do not hesitate to contact Catherine Freeman (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Valeria Ford (email@example.com) of my staff.
Henry L. Johnson
cc: Governor M. Jodi Rell
ATTACHMENT: Amendments to the Connecticut Accountability Plan
This statement is a summary of the amendments. For complete details, please refer to the Connecticut accountability plan on the Department's website: www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html
Timely Adequate Yearly Progress Decisions (Element 1.4)
Revision: Due to problems with its assessment contractor, Connecticut will be unable to release adequate yearly progress (AYP) determinations based on the CAPT assessment prior to the beginning of the 2006-07 school year. Connecticut will use preliminary AYP results to determine if consequences need to be implemented prior to the final public release of test results and AYP determinations, no later than October 26th. No later than September 6, 2006, high schools that would be required to implement consequences based on preliminary data will be contacted to confirm their status and inform them of consequences, expectations and timelines. No later than October 5, 2006, districts that would be required to implement consequences based on preliminary data will be contacted to confirm their status and inform them of consequences, expectations and timelines. Schools and districts that are currently in any of the AYP consequence stages must continue being in that stage until the final publication of data no later than October 26, 2006. Schools and districts that move into or further along the AYP consequences must act on preliminary data and begin the improvement process including: parental notification, mandated set-asides, and the appropriate consequences.
Identifying LEAs as In Need of Improvement (Element 5.2)
Revision: Connecticut will identify an LEA for improvement when it misses AYP in the same subject and in all grade spans for two consecutive years.
Reliability (Element 9.1)
Revision: Connecticut proposes to incorporate a 75 percent confidence interval to its safe harbor calculations.