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Hawaii Assessment Letter

October 27, 2006

The Honorable Patricia Hamamoto
Superintendent
Hawaii Department of Education
P.O. Box 2360
Honolulu, Hawaii 96804

Dear Superintendent Hamamoto:

I am writing to follow up on my letter, dated June 29, 2006, inviting you to show cause why the U.S. Department of Education (Department) should not withhold 10 percent of the fiscal year 2006 funds the Hawaii Department of Education (HIDOE) reserved for State administration under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). In a letter of July 19, 2006, you responded to this invitation to show cause on behalf of the Hawaii Department of Education.

In my letter, I listed a number of components where the evidence provided did not demonstrate that Hawaii's assessments met the ESEA requirements. To reiterate, the Department could not approve Hawaii's standards and assessment system due to the fact that Hawaii's new general assessment, the Hawaii State Assessment (HSA) aligned to the Hawaii Content and Performance Standards III (HCPS III) will be administered for the first time in the 2006-07 school year. As a result, Hawaii was not able to demonstrate the technical quality and alignment of this assessment during the 2005-06 school year. I also raised concerns regarding the inclusion of all students in the assessment system. Accordingly, Hawaii's standards and assessment system was assigned the status of Approval Pending. This status was based on the assessments given during the 2005-06 school year. Based on the number of fundamental components that were missing or did not meet the ESEA requirements, I indicated the Department's intent to withhold a portion of Hawaii's Title I, Part A State administrative funds.

In the letter to show cause why the Department should not withhold Title I, Part A administrative funds, HIDOE did not provide evidence demonstrating that the assessments administered during the 2005-06 school year met the requirements of Section 1111(b)(1) and (3) of the ESEA. While I applaud the work you have done on the Hawaii State Alternate Assessment (HSAA) and the Hawaii Aligned Portfolio Assessment (HAPA), the work you are doing to create the HSA aligned to the HCPS III for the 2006-07 school year, and the timeline you have established for the remaining work, they are not sufficient to show cause that the assessment system HIDOE administered during the 2005-06 school year met the requirements listed above. As you know, HIDOE was required, by the 2005-06 school year, to develop academic content and achievement standards and to administer aligned assessments in each of grades 3-8 and high school for both reading/language arts and mathematics that meet the requirements of section 1111(b)(1) and (3) of the ESEA.

After careful consideration of Hawaii's submission, I have concluded that HIDOE has not shown cause why the Department should not withhold a portion of Hawaii's Title I, Part A State administrative funds for fiscal year 2006. Therefore, under section 1111(g)(2) of the ESEA, the Department is withholding ten percent of Hawaii's Title I State administrative funds for fiscal year 2006, totaling $46,179, which will revert to the Title I, Part A funds available for schools in Hawaii. I am enclosing guidance on how HIDOE should redirect these funds to its Title I, Part A schools. If you have any questions about this guidance, please contact Sandy Brown of my staff at (202) 260-0976.

I regret having to withhold a portion of Hawaii's Title I, Part A State administrative funds for significant non-compliance during the 2005-06 school year. However, I am heartened by HIDOE's commitment to a new set of assessments aligned to the HCPS III. I know that you will continue the hard work required to meet the remaining requirements under Section 1111(b)(1) and (3) of the ESEA, as detailed in my June 29 letter, to having a fully approved system by the end of the 2006-07 school year, and we will continue to offer technical assistance to help you in this important work. My staff and I look forward to working with you over the coming year. If you have any remaining questions or would like to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to contact Patrick Rooney (Patrick.Rooney@ed.gov) or Valeria Ford (Valeria.Ford@ed.gov) of my staff.

Sincerely,

Henry L. Johnson

Enclosure

cc: Governor Linda Lingle
Robert McClelland

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Last Modified: 10/31/2006