[Federal Register: January 4, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 3)]
[Page 571-574]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Office of Elementary and Secondary Education; Notice of Request 
for Public Comment on the Department of Education's Initial Plans for 
Implementing a Consolidated State Application and a Consolidated Annual 
Report Under the Reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act

SUMMARY: We invite the public to submit comments on the Department's 
initial plans under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as 
amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, for providing formula 
program grant funding to States on the basis of consolidated 
applications. Public comments will help the Department develop proposed 
criteria for submission of consolidated State applications and identify 
the information to be collected in the annual performance report that 
is required of each State. The Department expects to publish in 
February, for public review and comment, a separate notice in the 
Federal Register proposing criteria and procedures to govern the 
consolidated State application and annual State report.

DATES: Please send your comments on or before January 14, 2002.

ADDRESSES: Please address your comments to Marcia Kingman, Office of 
Elementary and Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education, using 
one of the following methods:
    1. Internet. We encourage you to send your comments through the 
Internet to the following address: marcia.kingman@ed.gov. You should 
use the term ``ESEA Consolidated Plan'' in the subject line of your 
electronic message.
    2. Fax Machine. You also may submit your comments by fax machine at 
(202) 205-5870.
    3. Surface Mail. Alternatively, you may submit your comments via 
surface mail addressed to: Marcia Kingman, Office of Elementary and 
Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, 
SW, Room 3E213, Washington, DC 20202.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Marcia Kingman, Office of Elementary 
and Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland 
Avenue, SW, Room 3E213, Washington, DC 20202. Telephone: (202) 260-
    Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an 
alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer 
diskette) on request to the contact person for information identified 
in the preceding paragraph.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In mid-December of 2001, the Congress gave 
final approval to H.R. 1, the No Child Left Behind Act. This bill, 
which now awaits the President's signature, will substantially revise 
the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), offering all 
of America's school children the opportunity and means to achieve 
academic success. In particular, the bill embodies the four key 
measures of the President's education reform plan: (1) Stronger 
accountability for results, (2) expanded flexibility and local control, 
(3) expanded options for parents, and (4) an emphasis on teaching 
methods that have been proven to work, particularly in reading 
    These measures are designed to produce fundamental reforms in 
classrooms throughout America. They will provide officials and 
administrators at the school, school district, and State levels 
substantial flexibility to plan and implement school programs that will 
help close the achievement gap between disadvantaged and minority 
students and their peers. At the same time, the new law will hold 
school officials accountable--to parents, students, and the public--for 
achieving results. These and other major changes to the ESEA through 
the No Child Left Behind Act will redefine the federal role in K-12 
education to better focus on improving the academic performance of all 
American students. The full text of this pending law, and the House-
Senate conference report summary of the final bill, may be found on the 
Internet at: http://edworkforce.house.gov/issues/107th/education/nclb/

[[Page 572]]

    One key way that the Department provides flexibility for States and 
school districts to design their own approaches for improving the 
academic performance of all students is by encouraging the careful 
development and use of consolidated plans or applications. Use of 
consolidated plans or applications also will help accomplish the 
President's goal of reducing unnecessary and burdensome paperwork and 
focus planning and reporting on student achievement.
    Sections 9301 and 9302 of the new law, like the predecessor 
provisions in sections 14301 and 14302 of the ESEA, as amended in 1994 
by the Improving America's Schools Act (IASA), will offer States the 
option of seeking funding under most ESEA formula grant programs 
through these consolidated plans or applications instead of through 
individual program plans or applications that the law otherwise would 
require. As expressed in the forthcoming law, a consolidated plan or 
application would be designed ``to improve teaching and learning by 
encouraging greater cross-program coordination, planning, and service 
delivery, to provide greater flexibility to State and local 
authorities, and to enhance integration of [the ESEA] programs * * * 
with State and local programs'' (section 9301). States would submit not 
the information required for individual ESEA program plans or 
applications, but rather ``only descriptions, information, assurances, 
* * * and other materials that are absolutely necessary for the 
consideration of the consolidated State plan or consolidated State 
application'' (section 9302(b)(3)). Hence, the Department will be able 
to provide funding to States under many ESEA formula grant programs on 
the basis of this single plan or application.
    In addition, section 9305 of the ESEA will extend similar 
flexibility to local educational agencies (LEAs), continuing the 
authority for LEAs to receive program funding through submission of 
consolidated local plans or applications under individual programs that 
the statute would otherwise require. It also clarifies existing law to 
ensure that State educational agencies (SEAs) do not require local 
education agencies (LEAs) to submit individual program plans or 
applications if they wish to submit a consolidated application.
    Programs that may be included in a consolidated plan or 
application. Sections 9101(13) and 9302(a)(1) of the ESEA, as amended 
by the forthcoming No Child Left Behind Act, identify the programs that 
a State would be able to include in a consolidated plan or application. 
These programs are each of those authorized by--
    Title I, Part A: Improving Basic Programs Operated by Local 
Educational Agencies.
    Title I, Part B, subpart 3: William J. Goodling Even Start Family 
Literacy Programs.
    Title I, Part C: Education of Migrant Children.
    Title I, Part D: Prevention and Intervention Programs for Children 
and Youth Who Are Neglected, Delinquent, or At-Risk.
    Title I, Part F: Comprehensive School Reform.
    Title II, Part A: Teacher and Principal Training and Recruiting 
    Title II, Part D: Enhancing Education Through Technology.
    Title III, Part A: English Language Acquisition, Language 
Enhancement and Academic Achievement.
    Title IV, Part A: Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities.
    Title IV, Part B: 21st Century Community Learning Centers.
    Title V, Part A: Innovative Programs.
    Title VI, Part B, subpart 2: Rural and Low-Income School Program.
    Other programs the Secretary may designate. Each State would be 
free either to submit a consolidated plan or application that includes 
any or all of these programs, or to submit a separate program plan or 
application for each of the programs the ESEA would otherwise require.

The Department's Experience With Consolidated State Plans

    1. Criteria for consolidated State plans. After the 1994 
reauthorization of the ESEA, the Department developed criteria for 
consolidated State plans that sought to align consolidated planning of 
the ESEA programs included in the States' plans with comprehensive 
school reform efforts that States were already undertaking on their 
own. Therefore, the criteria for the consolidated State plans that 
States have provided to the Department since 1994 stressed a 
comprehensive description of the State's--
     Goals and objectives for achievement of all students, 
including the content of the State's standards and assessments system 
under Title I, part A of the ESEA, and performance indicators, 
benchmarks, and timelines it had established for meeting these goals 
and objectives;
     Strategies, activities, and uses of resources under which 
the ESEA programs the State included in its consolidated plan would 
help to achieve State goals and objectives, including those related to 
such key components as Title I, part A schoolwide programs, 
professional development, safe and drug-free schools, and consolidated 
local planning;
     Process for ensuring that the consolidated State plan 
would continue to be revised, as necessary, to reflect changing 
circumstances and continuous improvement; and
     Process for promoting and maintaining public involvement 
in reviewing how well the plan was being implemented.
    States also provided a limited amount of fiscal information that 
the Department needed to review before distributing ESEA program 
funding to ensure program accountability. All but one State now receive 
ESEA State formula grant program funding on the basis of these 
consolidated plans.
    In the guidance it issued on preparation of these consolidated 
State plans, the Department informed States that its approval of those 
plans eliminated the need, for programs included in the plan, to 
develop separate program planning documents that the individual program 
statutes otherwise required. However, the Department also stressed that 
its approval of the consolidated State plans did not relieve States of 
their responsibility to adhere to all of the operational requirements 
that these statutes imposed, whether or not the statutes included them 
as required elements of individual program plans or applications.
    2. Consolidated performance reports. In 1998, the Department 
distributed an initial consolidated performance reporting instrument 
that States began using to report annually on the performance of all 
programs included in their consolidated plans. This reporting 
instrument (and its subsequent revision) replaced the various 
individual program performance reports that States had previously sent 
at differing times to the Department. States report in a single 
document information in a number of areas, in particular (a) student 
achievement gains (principally for Title I, part A), (b) how LEAs 
carried out individual programs, including participation data, and (c) 
how well States and LEAs met performance measures for these programs 
that the Department had established in accordance with requirements of 
the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA).

[[Page 573]]

The Department's Working Model for Consolidated Applications Under 
the ESEA, As Amended by the No Child Left Behind Act

    1. An overview. Consistent with the pending No Child Left Behind 
Act, the Department is developing proposed consolidated application and 
reporting procedures that States would integrate into a comprehensive 
State accountability system. Information States would submit in their 
consolidated applications would be integral to both overall State 
accountability and to the Department's ability to meet its basic 
administrative responsibilities.
    We refer to the documents as ``consolidated applications'' rather 
than as ``consolidated plans'' to emphasize that this information would 
not constitute an educational or programmatic ``plan'' or ``set of 
strategies.'' By this we mean that the Department has no intention of 
reviewing (or approving) a State's plans for achieving program-by-
program goals for academic achievement of all students and most other 
objectives and requirements of the individual ESEA programs. Instead 
the Department will review a consolidated application that contains the 
State's overall and individual programmatic goals and objectives that 
relate to improved student achievement, and its descriptions of the 
overall State system for measuring progress in achieving them. A State 
would be responsible to its own students and parents--but not to the 
Department--for putting in place effective strategies for meeting those 
goals and objectives.
    Hence, the criteria for consolidated State applications would be 
designed to reflect a focus on the data that States will use to 
demonstrate results, in particular, improved student achievement levels 
of all students and narrowing of ``achievement gaps.'' In the 
consolidated annual reports, States would provide data on their success 
in achieving these results. Moreover, in order to reduce burden and 
enable the collection of more up-to-date information, the Department 
will be working to make this reporting system ``web-based'' so that 
information might be supplied electronically rather than in paper form.
    2. Proposed key components of the new consolidated State 
application. More specifically, the consolidated State application 
would address--
     The State's definition of adequate yearly progress under 
section 1111(b)(2) of the ESEA, as amended by the No Child Left Behind 
Act, and its timeline to ensure that all students are proficient not 
later that 12 school years after the end of the 2001-2002 school year 
as the new law will require, as it applies to both public elementary 
and secondary school students as a whole and the required subgroups: 
economically disadvantaged students, students from major racial and 
ethnic groups, disabled students, and limited English proficient 
     The State's key objectives for each of the Federal 
programs included in the consolidated application and the populations 
those programs serve, as those objectives support increased achievement 
of all students (e.g., its goals for increasing migrant-student high 
school completion rates, goals for reducing school violence, and goals 
for increasing the number of highly qualified teachers);
     So that progress can be tracked through the State's annual 
reports, (1) baseline data for the 2001-2002 school year for the 
indicators on which States would provide information in their annual 
reports under section 1111(h)(4), and (2) other baseline data relative 
to key objectives for each of the Federal programs included in the 
consolidated application and the populations those program serve, as 
those objectives support increased student achievement.
     The principal approaches the State would use, with federal 
and non-federal funds, to achieve adequate yearly progress for all 
students and the key objectives for each of the included ESEA programs 
and the populations they assist;
     The assessment and accountability systems the State would 
use for measuring whether it is successful in meeting (1) its adequate 
yearly progress goals for all students under sections 1111(b)(3) and 
(b)(2), respectively, and (2) the State's key objectives for each of 
the included ESEA programs; and
     Key information on specific ESEA programs that the 
Department needs to review in order to ensure programmatic or fiscal 
    3. Other considerations.
    a. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 will make significant 
changes to the ESEA that are designed to give school officials, 
educators, and parents the tools they need to ensure that all students 
can achieve. However, this Act also will build upon school reform 
strategies that were begun under the previous statute and other federal 
and State initiatives. In this regard, provided that State plans are 
consistent with Department requirements, States would be able to draw 
upon information and data that they developed under the previous 
    b. To gauge the success of the Nation in implementing the new Act, 
it is important that where possible States report their assessment data 
using common formats and measures. Therefore, the Department intends to 
work with States to determine how their data management systems may 
    c. Only a limited amount of program-specific information would be 
included in a consolidated State application. Yet, even if not 
addressed in the consolidated application, all operational and program-
planning requirements of each program (as amended by the No Child Left 
Behind Act) included in a consolidated application are extremely 
important and need to be met. Many ESEA program statutes establish some 
of these operational and planning requirements in provisions that 
govern the content of individual program plans or applications. States 
would need to adhere to all of those requirements (as well as to those 
that appear elsewhere in the individual program statutes), and to 
maintain for public inspection documentation that confirms they have 
been met. (In order to help promote public dialogue on how States can 
most effectively implement the federal programs included in their 
consolidated applications, the Department also would encourage States 
to post on their Internet sites information on how they propose to meet 
key requirements of each program.)
    Specific questions on which the Department seeks comment. 
Consolidated State applications can provide the Department with 
important information on how the State intends federal programs 
included in the application to promote increased achievement of all 
students. However, the principal importance of these consolidated 
applications (and reports) is their ability to communicate to the 
public, policy-makers, and others in each State the basis on which the 
State officials responsible for implementing the new law propose to 
hold themselves accountable for ensuring that no child is left behind.
    It is in both of these contexts that we are interested in receiving 
public comment and reaction to all aspects of this proposal. However, 
in formulating your comments we ask that you pay particular attention 
to the following questions:
    1. Goals, objectives, and baseline data. What kinds of State goals 
and objectives--in addition to the adequate yearly progress standards 
set forth in Title I, part A--might States adopt for measuring the 
success of programs included in the consolidated application? What 
baseline data might

[[Page 574]]

States use to measure success in meeting these key goals and 
objectives? How might States measure their success in implementing each 
program included in the consolidated application?
    2. Phase-in process. The Department will need to distribute FY 2002 
funds to States this coming July. States will have insufficient time by 
then to prepare high-quality consolidated applications that would 
reflect all of the desired information. Consequently, the Department 
would establish initial procedures and criteria under which States 
choosing to submit consolidated applications will be able to receive FY 
2002 funds in a timely manner. However, given the requirements of the 
pending No Child Left Behind Act, and the urgency with which all of us 
will be working to implement it, the Department would want all States 
to have submitted complete consolidated State applications by a 
specific deadline, no later than the beginning of the 2003-04 school 
year. States plainly will need to be able to submit this information to 
the Department in two or more phases that reflect the differing amounts 
of time that will be needed to prepare the different parts of their 
    What might this phase-in process look like? Consistent with the 
exigencies and program-specific schedules underpinning the No Child 
Left Behind Act, how much time would States need to provide the 
different information that would be included in the complete 
consolidated State application? What information should States be 
expected to provide in each phase? In addition, while the Department 
would insist that each State submit all of the information to be 
included in its consolidated application by the end of the 2003-2004 
school year, some States may be able to submit their information 
earlier than others. Should the Department have States submit their 
information on different schedules that depend on when they have their 
data available?
    3. Individual program requirements. Without undermining the 
important purposes of consolidated State applications, how can the 
Department do a better job of helping to ensure State, school district, 
and school adherence to the requirements of the individual programs 
that those consolidated applications include?
    4. Consolidated performance reporting. Consolidated performance 
reporting for school years 2000-01 and 2001-02 will be conducted 
through the Office of Management and Budget-approved reporting form the 
Department prepared under the previous law. Are there elements of this 
report that the Department should retain for reporting under the No 
Child Left Behind Act? Which ones?
    5. Flexibility initiatives under the new law. What implications do 
the No Child Left Behind Act's flexibility initiatives have for the 
consolidated State application and annual reporting effort? These 
initiatives include:
     Transferability of program funds, allowing any SEA to 
transfer 50 percent of its State-level funds under certain programs to 
State-level activities under other programs or under Title I, and LEAs 
to transfer 50 percent of their funds among programs or into Title I 
(Title VI, Part A, Subpart 2);
     The Rural Education Achievement Program (REAP), which 
allows small rural LEAs to consolidate certain federal program funds 
(Part B of Title VI);
     The Secretary's waiver authority (Title IX, Part D), and 
waiver decisions available to States under the Ed-Flex Partnership 
Demonstration Act of 1999 (Ed-Flex);
     The State Flexibility Program (state-flex), which allows 
SEAs to use certain federal funds for any ESEA purpose, direct the use 
of funds provided under Title V, Part A (formerly Title VI of the 
ESEA), and enter into local performance agreements with ten LEAs in 
each State (Title VI, Part A, Subpart 3, Chapter A); and
     Local flexibility authority, under which up to 80 
additional LEAs will receive broad authority to consolidate funds 
(Title VI, Part A, Subpart 3, Chapter B).
    6. Other considerations. Are there criteria and procedures for 
consolidated State applications (or plans) that, consistent with the 
requirements of sections 9301 and 9302 of the new Act, would better 
promote accountability for increased academic achievement of all 
students and other objectives of the No Child Left Behind Act? What are 
they? How should they be reflected in the procedures and content for 
consolidated State applications or plans that the Department 

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    Note: The official version of this document is the document 
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    Dated: December 28, 2001.
Susan B. Neuman,
Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education.
[FR Doc. 02-155 Filed 1-3-02; 8:45 am]