July 9, 2009
The Honorable Mike Rush
Idaho State Board of Education
650 West State Street
P.O. Box 83720
Boise, Idaho 83720-0037
The Honorable Tom Luna
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Idaho Department of Education
Len B. Jordan Office Building
650 West State Street
P.O. Box 83720
Boise, Idaho 83720-0027
Dear Executive Director Rush and Superintendent Luna:
On behalf of Secretary Duncan, I want to thank you for your hard work in implementing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). As you may know, the Secretary is traveling the country and listening to representatives from states and school districts, as well as other stakeholders, talk about the ways in which the ESEA can be improved. These conversations will inform the next reauthorization of the statute. In the meantime, we will push towards our reform goals under the authority of, and in accordance with, the existing statute and regulations.
I am writing in response to Idaho's request to amend its state accountability plan under Title I of the ESEA. Following discussions between the Department and your staff, you made certain changes to Idaho's accountability plan, which are now included in the amended plan that Idaho submitted to the Department on June 12, 2009. I am pleased to approve Idaho's amended plan, which we will post on the Department's website. A summary of Idaho's requested amendments is enclosed with this letter. As you know, any further requests to amend Idaho's accountability plan must be submitted to the Department for review and approval as required by section 1111(f)(2) of Title I of the ESEA.
Please also be aware that approval of Idaho's accountability plan for Title I, including the amendments approved herein, 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.
I am confident that Idaho will continue to advance its efforts to hold schools and school districts accountable for the achievement of all students. If you need any additional assistance to implement the standards, assessment, and accountability provisions of the ESEA, please do not hesitate to contact Vicki.Robinson@ed.gov or Sharon.Hall@ed.gov of my staff.
Joseph C. Conaty
cc: Governor Butch Otter
Amendments to Idaho's Accountability Plan
The following is a summary of Idaho's amendment requests. Please refer to the Department’s website www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html for Idaho's complete accountability plan.
The following amendments are aligned with the statute and regulations.
Rewards and sanctions for public schools and local educational agencies (LEAs) (Element 1.6)
Revision: By including the State Board of Education Adequate Yearly Progress Accountability Procedures for Idaho Local Educational Agencies and Schools as Appendix A of its accountability workbook, Idaho clarified the timeline by which schools and districts are identified for improvement and the interventions that will be applied consistent with the applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.
Method of adequate yearly progress (AYP) determinations (Element 3.1)
Revision: Idaho will permit students to retest in grades 11 and 12 and will include a student’s highest score in the high school AYP determinations. In 2009, Idaho will include the best result for a student as of the end of grade 11. In 2010 and subsequent years, Idaho will include the best result for a student as of the end of grade 12.
Please note that implementation of this policy may not impinge on Idaho’s ability to make timely AYP determinations. In particular, AYP determinations must be made in time to enable districts with one or more schools in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring to provide parents with notice of their public school choice options at least 14 days prior to the start of the subsequent school year, as required by 34 C.F.R. § 200.37(b)(4)(iv).
Performance index (Element 3.1)
Revision: Idaho will include a performance index in the calculation of AYP beginning with the 2008–09 school year. The performance index awards a school partial credit for students whose achievement improves even though they may not yet be proficient. The scores of students who score at the Basic achievement level will be weighted 0.5 and the scores of students scoring at the Proficient and Advanced achievement level will be weighted 1.0 to determine whether a school or district makes AYP. Idaho reset its annual measureable objectives (AMOs) to coincide with the performance index. Its new AMOs are:
Participation rate (Element 10.1)
Revision: Idaho updated its accountability workbook to reflect its current participation rate calculation. The participation rate is calculated by dividing the number of students assessed on the spring Idaho Standards Achievement Tests (ISAT) divided by the number of students reported on the class roster files at the time of testing.