November 25, 2013
The Honorable Rob S. Saxton
Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction
Oregon Department of Education
255 Capitol Street NE
Salem, OR 97310
Dear Deputy Superintendent Saxton:
This letter is a response to your August 28, 2013, letter requesting reconsideration of the U.S. Department of Education’s (Department) decision to place the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) on high-risk status pursuant to the authority in 34 C.F.R. § 80.12. Your letter was written in response to my August 14, 2013, letter granting ODE’s request to extend approval of its Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA) flexibility request through the end of the 2013–2014 school year, subject to the condition that Oregon complete certain actions, and placing ODE on high-risk status.
The decision to place ODE on high-risk status was based on the Department’s determination that ODE has not yet met the condition placed on the initial approval of its ESEA flexibility request. That condition required ODE to adopt a method for including student growth as a significant factor in its teacher and principal evaluation and support systems and that it submit final guidelines for those systems that meet the requirements of ESEA flexibility. In your request for reconsideration, you discuss the work that your staff has already completed and the work it will continue to do in order to satisfy this condition prior to the end of the 2013–2014 school year. We appreciate the work that has been done and will continue to be done, and I acknowledge that the ODE has made significant strides in this area. Having carefully reviewed and considered your request, the Department stands by its determination to place ODE on high-risk status.
I also want to acknowledge receipt of Oregon’s September 11, 2013, submission of a high-quality plan to address the items that were set forth in my August 14, 2013, letter. My staff has already provided some informal feedback to your staff regarding that plan. We will continue to work with them to strengthen the plan during the monthly phone calls referenced in my August 14, 2013, letter. My office looks forward to continuing to work with you to resolve the condition of ODE’s ESEA flexibility request and its high-risk status.
Thank you for the work you do every day to enhance education for all of Oregon’s students.
Deborah S. Delisle