November 7, 2014
The Honorable David C. Hespe
Acting Commissioner of Education
New Jersey Department of Education
PO Box 500
Trenton, NJ 08625
Dear Commissioner Hespe:
This letter is in response to New Jersey’s April 21, 2014 request for a one-year extension of flexibility under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA flexibility), so that New Jersey may continue to implement ESEA flexibility through the end of the 2014–2015 school year.
Our team has reviewed New Jersey’s request and, pursuant to section 9401(d)(2) of the ESEA, I am pleased to extend New Jersey’s ESEA flexibility request for one year, through the end of the 2014–2015 school year. My decision to extend New Jersey’s ESEA flexibility request is based on my determination that ESEA flexibility has been effective in enabling New Jersey to carry out important reforms to improve student achievement and that this extension is in the public interest. I have also determined that two of New Jersey’s three monitoring next steps have been adequately addressed through submission of documentation and other information. When submitting a request for renewal of ESEA flexibility in the Spring of 2015, New Jersey must address the third monitoring next step by describing how it will require its LEAs to implement appropriate interventions in other Title I schools with ESEA subgroups that either (1) did not meet an annual measurable objective, or (2) did not meet a graduation rate target, as approved in its accountability addendum, based on previous school years’ data. This letter also provides my approval of the amendments to Principles 2 and 3 that New Jersey proposed that align with the requirements of ESEA flexibility. A summary of New Jersey’s approved amendment is enclosed with this letter, and New Jersey’s amended request will be posted on the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) website. This extension also is subject to New Jersey’s commitment to continue working with ED to ensure that student growth on State assessments is incorporated as a significant factor going forward.
If New Jersey wishes to make additional amendments to its ESEA flexibility request, New Jersey must submit those amendments to ED. Information regarding that process can be found at: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/esea-flexibility/index.html. ED will review and approve amendments that align with the principles of ESEA flexibility.
New Jersey 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. 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 New Jersey will continue to implement the reforms described in 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 Susan Wilhelm of my staff at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your commitment and continued focus on enhancing education for all of New Jersey’s students.
Deborah S. Delisle
cc: Jim Palmer, Chief Performance Officer