April 23, 2013
The Honorable John White
State Superintendent of Education
Louisiana Department of Education
PO Box 94064
1201 North 3rd Street, 5th Floor
Baton Rouge, LA 70804
Dear Superintendent White:
I am writing in response to Louisiana’s request to amend its approved ESEA flexibility request. On May 29, 2012, U.S. Department of Education (ED) approved Louisiana’s flexibility request. On February 6, 2013, Louisiana submitted an amended request including ten changes.
I am pleased to approve Louisiana’s amended request through the 2013¬–2014 school year. At that time, Louisiana, like other States, may request an additional extension of these waivers through the 2014–2015 school year. Louisiana’s amended request will be posted on ED’s website, and a summary of Louisiana’s amendments is enclosed with this letter. Any further amendments to Louisiana’s ESEA flexibility request must be submitted to the Department for review and approval.
Louisiana continues to have an affirmative responsibility to ensure that it and its districts are in compliance with Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, and age in their implementation of ESEA flexibility as well as their implementation of all other Federal education programs. These laws include 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, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
I am confident that Louisiana will continue to implement the reforms it proposed under its approved ESEA flexibility request and advance its efforts to hold schools and school districts accountable for the achievement of all students. If you need any additional assistance to implement your ESEA flexibility request, please do not hesitate to contact Elizabeth Witt of my staff at: Elizabeth.Witt@ed.gov.
cc: Jessica Baghian
Amendments to Louisiana’s Approved ESEA Flexibility Request
The following is a summary of amendments to Louisiana’s approved ESEA flexibility request. ED approves the following amendments because Louisiana’s ESEA flexibility request, as amended, continues to be aligned with the principles of ESEA flexibility. Please refer to ED’s website at: www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html for Louisiana’s complete ESEA flexibility request.
2.A.i: State Developed System of Differentiated Recognition, Accountability and Support
Revision: Louisiana will allow students who score “fair” (the second-lowest level) on an EOC test in middle school to retake the test in high school to demonstrate proficiency.
Revision: Louisiana will allow schools with grades of “F” that are completely taken over by a turnaround operator (i.e., whole-school restarts) to receive a letter grade of “T” for two years after takeover, rather than an actual A-F grade. All information that would be used to calculate the letter grade will continue to be reported.
Revision: Louisiana will use students’ highest score for any ACT administration through spring of 12th grade, rather than only up to the end of 11th grade, in the calculation of the ACT component of the high school.
Revision: Louisiana will award 140 points in the graduation index for a 5th-year graduate who earns a 3+ on an AP test or a 4+ on an IB test, which is less than the 150 points awarded for a 4th-year graduate who earns these scores and more than the 75 points awarded for a 5th-year graduate who does not earn these scores.
Revision: Only for accountability decisions based on 2011-2012 data, Louisiana will award higher numbers of points in the graduation index for students who earn academic endorsements and State-funded scholarship recipients, rather than awarding higher points for graduates who take AP/IB courses and pass AP/IB tests.
Revision: Louisiana will adjust the point scale for four-year cohort graduation rate in its index, resulting in an increase in score for graduation rates greater than 60 percent, while still keeping 80 percent as the State’s goal.
2.B: Set Ambitious but Achievable Annual Measurable Objectives
Revision: Louisiana will change the percentage of non-proficient students required to exceed expected growth for a school to receive bonus points on the index from 35 percent to 30 percent.
Revision: Louisiana will award additional bonus points on its index for students who scored at the lowest levels of performance in the previous year and exceed expected growth.
Revision: Louisiana will define “full academic year” (FAY) for an local educational agency (LEA) as enrolled on October 1 and for testing. Students are considered FAY at the school-level based on where they are enrolled on February 1.
3.B:Ensure LEAs Implement Teacher and Principal Evaluation and Support Systems
Revision: Louisiana will increase the minimum n-size for the value-added model used for teacher and principal evaluation from 5 to 10.