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VA April 17 Letter

VA April 17 Letter

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Published by The Washington Post
The U.S. Department of Education critiques Virginia's request for a waiver from the more vexing parts of No Child Left Behind.
The U.S. Department of Education critiques Virginia's request for a waiver from the more vexing parts of No Child Left Behind.

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Published by: The Washington Post on Apr 27, 2012
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07/26/2013

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UNITEDSTATESDEPARTMENTOF
EnUCA
TION
OFFICEOFELEMENTARYANDSECONDARYEDUCATION
April17,2012TheHonorablePatricia
1.
WrightSuperintendentofPublicInstructionVirginiaDepartmentofEducationP.o.Box2120Richmond,Virginia23218DearSuperintendentWright:ThankyouforsubmittingVirginia'srequestforESEAflexibility.Weappreciatethehardworkrequiredtotransitiontocollege-andcareer-readystandardsandassessments;developasystemofdifferentiatedrecognition,accountability,andsupport;andevaluateandsupportteacherandleadereffectiveness.TheU.S.DepartmentofEducation(Department)isencouragedthatVirginiaandmanyotherStatesaredesigningplanstoincreasethequalityofinstructionandimprovestudentacademicachievement.Asyouknow,Virginia'srequestwasreviewedbyapanelofsixpeerreviewersduringtheweekofMarch26-30,2012.Duringthereview,theexpertpeersconsideredeachcomponentofVirginia'srequestandprovidedcommentsintheformofPeerPanelNotesthattheSecretarywillusetoinformanyrevisionsto);ourrequestthatmaybeneededtomeettheprinciplesofRSEAflexibility.ThePeerPanelNotes,acopyofwhichisenclosedwiththisletter,alsoprovidefeedbackonthestrengthsofVirglnia'srequestandareasthatwouldbenefitfromfurtherdevelopment.DepartmentstaffalsohavecarefullyreviewedVirginia'srequest,takingintoaccountthePeerPanelNotes,todetermineconsistencywiththeESEAflexibilityprinciples.Thepeersnoted,andweagxee,thatVirginia'srequestdescribesaparticularlystrongstandards-developmentinfrastructureusedtoenhancethequalityoftheState'sstandardsandimprovestudentachievement.PeersalsonotedthatVirginiadescribesanaccountabilitysystembasedontheStateaccreditationsystemthathasthepotentialtobeeffectiveandeasilyunderstoodbyparents,teachers,andthepublic.Atthesametime,basedonthepeerreviewers'commentsandourreviewofthematerialsVirginiahasprovidedtodate,wehaveidentifiedcertaincomponentsofyourrequestthatneedfurther
www.ed.gov400MARYLANDAVE.,SW,WASHINGTON,DC20202
TheDepartmentofEducation'smissionistopromotestudentachievementandpreparationforglobalcompetitiveness
by
fosteringeducationalexcellenceandensuringequalaccess.
 
Page2
clarification,additionaldevelopment,or
revision,
Inparticular,significantconcernswereidentifiedwithrespecttothefollowing:Thelackofsubgroupaccountabilitybeyondreporting;Thelackofambitiousbutachievableannualmeasureablcobjectives(AMO)thatprovideameaningfulincentiveforschoolstoimprove;andThelackofclarityregardinghowVirginia
will
ensurethatlocaleducationalagencies(LEAs)
will
develop,adopt,pilot,andimplementteacherandprincipalevaluationandsupportsystemsthatincludeasasignificantfactordataonstudentgrowthforallstudentsindetenniningperformancelevels.Theenclosedlistprovidesdetailsregardingtheseconcerns,aswellasotherkeyissuesraisedinthereviewofVirginia'srequest,thatwebelievemustbeaddressedbeforetheSecretarycanapproveyourrequestforESEAflexibility.WeencourageVirginiatoconsiderallofthepeers'commentsandtechnicalassistancesuggestionsinmakingrevisionstoitsrequest,butweencourageyoutofocusprimarilyonaddressingtheconcernsidentifiedontheenclosedlistAdditionally,VirginiahasrequestedthefollowingadditionalwaiversinitsESEAflexibilityrequestthatarenotamongthewaiversthatcompriseESEAflexibility:AwaiverofTideIII,PartArequirementsthatwouldallowVirginiatoholdthecurrentprogressandproficiencytargets.
(pf{_ge
48
if
request)
AwaiverofTideIII,PartArequirementsthatwouldallowVirginiatoexemptEnglishLearnersnewlyarrivedtothecountryfromtestingforuptotwofullyears.
(page
48
o]request)
AwaiverofhighlyqualifiedteacherrequirementsthatwouldallowVirginiatodiscontinuecollectingandreportingdataonhighlyqualifiedteachers.
(page
71
if
request)
Pleasenotethat,althoughthoseadditionalwaiverrequestsarenotaddressedinthisletter,wewillfollowupwithyourstaffinthecomingdaysabouttheprocessforconsiderationofthoserequests.AlthoughthePeerPanelNotesforVirginiaprovideinformationspecifictoyourrequest,VirginiaalsomaybenefitfromcommentsandtechnicalassistancesuggestionsmadebyotherpeerpanelsregardingissuescommontomultipleStateeducationalagencies'(SEA)requests.Forthisreason,DepartmentstaffwillreachouttoVirginiatoproviderelevanttechnicalassistancesuggestionsandotherconsiderationsthatmaybeusefulasyoureviseandrefineyourrequest.WeremaincommittedtoworkingwithVirginiatomeettheprinciplesofESEAflexibilityandimproveoutcomesforallstudents.WestandreadytoworkwithVirginiaasquicklyaspossible.Inordertoensurepromptconsiderationofrevisionsoradditionalmaterials,weareaskingSEAstosubmitthosematerialsbyMay1,2012.Departmentstaffwillbeintouchtosetupacallasearlyasthisweektodiscussthetimelineandprocessforprovidingrevisionsormaterials.
 
Page3
Youandyourteamdeservegreatcreditforyoureffortsthusfar,andweareconfidentthatwewillbeabletoworktogethertoaddressoutstandingconcerns.
If
youhaveanyadditionalquestionsorwanttorequesttechnicalassistance,pleasedonothesitatetocontactPatJohnson,at202-260-7813.Sincerely,
.~
ActingAssistantSecretaryEnclosure

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