September 13, 2006
The Honorable Michael P. Flanagan
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Michigan Department of Education
608 West Allegan Street, 4th Floor
Lansing, Michigan 48933
Dear Superintendent Flanagan:
I am pleased to approve Michigan's assessment system 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). I congratulate you on meeting this important NCLB requirement.
My decision is based on input from peer reviewers external to the U.S. Department of Education (the Department) and Department staff who reviewed and carefully considered the evidence submitted by Michigan. I have concluded that the evidence demonstrates that Michigan's standards and assessment system satisfies the NCLB requirements. Specifically, Michigan's system includes academic content standards in reading/language arts, mathematics, and science; student achievement standards in reading/language arts and mathematics; alternate achievement standards for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities in reading/language arts and mathematics; grade-level assessments in each of grades 3-8 and high school in reading/language arts and mathematics; and the Functional Independence alternate assessments in each of grades 3-8 and high school in reading/language arts and mathematics. Accordingly, Michigan's system warrants Full Approval. This status means that Michigan's standards and assessment system meets all statutory and regulatory requirements for reading/language arts and mathematics.
Please be aware that approval of Michigan's assessment system under NCLB is not a determination that the system 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.
Finally, please remember that, if Michigan makes significant changes in its assessment system, the State must submit information about those changes to the Department for review and approval. I understand Michigan is planning to implement additional alternate assessments based on alternate achievement standards to replace the Supported Independence and Participation assessments that are no longer in use after the 2005-06 school year. In addition, Michigan is considering the implementation of a new high school assessment, the Michigan Merit Exam. Please note that this approval does not include these assessments at this time. Michigan will need to submit additional evidence to the Department for review and approval if Michigan chooses to implement these assessments in the 2006-07 school year.
We have found it a pleasure working with your staff on this review. Please accept my congratulations for your State's approved standards and assessment system under NCLB. I wish you well in your continued efforts to improve student achievement in Michigan.
Henry L. Johnson
cc: Governor Jennifer Granholm