July 28, 2005
Richard P. Mills
New York State Education Department
111 Education Building
89 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12234
Dear Commissioner Mills:
I am writing in response to New York's request to amend its State accountability plan under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). The changes you requested are aligned with NCLB and are now included in an amended State accountability plan that New York submitted to the Department on July 18, 2005. The changes are listed in an attachment to this letter. I am pleased to fully approve New York's amended plan, which we will post on the Department's website.
If, over time, New York makes changes to the accountability plan that has been approved, New York must submit information about those changes to the Department for review and approval, as required by section 1111(f)(2) of Title I. Approval of New York's accountability plan is not also an approval of New York's standards and assessment system. As New York makes changes in its standards and assessments to meet requirements under NCLB, New York must submit information about those changes to the Department for peer review through the standards and assessment process.
Please also be aware that approval of New York'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.
I am confident that New York will continue to advance its efforts to hold schools and school districts accountable for the achievement of all students. I wish you well in your school improvement efforts. If I can be of any additional assistance to New York in its efforts to implement other aspects of NCLB, please do not hesitate to call.
cc: Governor George Pataki
Amendments to the New York Accountability Plan
This attachment is a summary of the amendments. For complete details, please refer to the New York Accountability plan on the Department's website: www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html.
Including students with disabilities in adequate yearly progress determinations (Element 5.3)
Revision: New York will use the "proxy method" (Option 1 in ED's guidance dated May 10, 2005) to take advantage of the Secretary's flexibility regarding calculating AYP for students with disabilities. New York will calculate a proxy to determine the percentage of students with disabilities that is equivalent to 2.0 percent of all students assessed. For this year only, this proxy will then be converted to the NY performance index. For any school or district that did not make AYP solely due to its students with disabilities subgroup, New York will use this adjusted percent proficient to reexamine if the school or district made AYP for the 2004-05 school year. This flexibility is applicable only for schools with the following tested grades: 4th grade (ELA and mathematics) and 8th grade (ELA only).
Definition of Graduation Rate (Element 7.1)
Revision: New York has 20 high schools in which students attend school for five years, and upon completion receive both a high school diploma and an associate's degree. New York will calculate a five-year graduation rate for these schools and use that graduation rate for AYP purposes.