August 27, 2008
The Honorable Alice Seagren
Minnesota Department of Education
1500 Highway 36 West
Roseville, Minnesota 55113
Dear Commissioner Seagren:I am writing in response to Minnesota's request to amend its State accountability plan 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). Following discussions between the Department and your staff, you made certain changes to your state accountability plan, which are included in the amended State accountability plan that Minnesota submitted to the Department on February 14, 2008. I am pleased to fully approve Minnesota's amended plan, which we will post on the Department's website. A summary of the approved amendment is enclosed with this letter. As you know, any further requests to amend Minnesota's accountability plan must be submitted to the Department for review and approval as required by section 1111(f)(2) of Title I of the ESEA.
Please also be aware that approval of Minnesota's accountability plan for Title I, including the amendment approved herein, does not indicate that the plan 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.
I am confident that Minnesota will continue to advance its efforts to hold schools and school districts accountable for the achievement of all students. If you need any additional assistance to implement the standards, assessments, and accountability provisions of NCLB, please do not hesitate to contact Abigail Potts (Abigail.Potts@ed.gov) or Sue Rigney (Sue.Rigney@ed.gov) of my staff.
Kerri L. Briggs, Ph.D.
cc: Governor Tim Pawlenty
Amendment to Minnesota's Accountability Plan
The following is a summary of the state's amendment request. Please refer to the Department's website (www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html) for Minnesota's complete accountability plan.
The following amendment is aligned with the statute and regulations.
Including students with disabilities in adequate yearly progress (AYP) (Element 5.3)
Revision: Minnesota will use the "proxy method" (option 1 in our guidance dated December 2005) to take advantage of the transition flexibility regarding calculating AYP for the students with disabilities subgroup, as offered by the Department pursuant to its authority under 34 C.F.R. § 200.20(g). See http://www.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/modachieve-summary.html. Minnesota will calculate a proxy to determine the percentage of students with disabilities that is equivalent to 2.0 percent of all students assessed. For this year only, this proxy will then be added to the percent of students with disabilities who score proficient or above. Minnesota will use this adjusted percent proficient to re-examine if a school or district made AYP for the 2007-08 school year only for a school or district that did not make AYP solely due to its students with disabilities subgroup.