Adequate Yearly Progress
November 1, 2013
TO THE ADMINISTRATOR ADDRESSED:
SUBJECT: Implications of NCLB Flexibility Waiver
On September 30, 2013, the US Department of Education (USDE) granted the State of Texas a conditional waiver for specific provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as reauthorized by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). The waiver will be granted without conditions once USDE reviews and approves Texas’s proposed guidelines for teacher and principal evaluation and support systems, which will be submitted in Spring 2014. For additional information, see Attachment 1.
This letter explains how the waiver releases Texas local educational agencies (LEAs) from meeting certain provisions of NCLB. The first two sections below describe general program changes and revised highly qualified (HQ) teacher data reporting requirements. The remainder of the letter describes the new basis for evaluating ongoing student performance and accountability, replacing the prior Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) provision.
General Program Changes
The waiver gives LEAs increased flexibility in determining how to expend NCLB funds:
· LEAs identified for improvement status are no longer required to reserve 10% of their Title I, Part A allocation for professional development.
· LEAs are no longer required to reserve an amount equal to 20% of their Title I, Part A funds for Supplemental Educational Services (SES) and school choice. However, any student currently taking advantage of the prior school choice provision must be allowed to complete the highest grade level at that campus, but the LEA is no longer required to provide transportation.
· Limitations have been removed as to the amount that an LEA may transfer from a covered program into Title I, Part A under Funding Transferability. In addition, when calculating set-aside percentages within Title I, Part A, the LEA may now exclude the amount of transferred funds, whereas previously the set-asides were to be included in the required reservations. LEAs should be aware that, as was previously, funds transferred into Title I, Part A cannot be moved back out again for use in the original covered program.
Details on how the waiver affects amending the grant application are listed in the NCLB Waiver Errata, posted with 2013–2014 NCLB Consolidated Grant Application materials on the TEA Grant Opportunities page.
Highly Qualified Teacher (HQT) Requirements
Section 1119 of NCLB requires that all teachers of core subject academic areas meet the specific competency and educational requirements defined for “highly qualified” (HQ) teachers. The NCLB waiver does not remove that requirement. LEAs must continue to ensure that applicable teachers meet the HQ definition and Title I paraprofessionals meet the Title I paraprofessional requirements. In addition, LEAs are still required to take the appropriate actions when they do not. Campuses will continue reporting HQ status through eGrants by the deadlines posted on the Highly Qualified Teachers page of the TEA website.
Before implementation of the waiver, LEAs that failed to achieve 100% HQT status and did not meet AYP for multiple consecutive years were required to submit an HQ Continuous Improvement Plan and/or an HQ Focused Data Analysis to TEA. Beginning in the 2013–2014 school year, the waiver releases LEAs from submitting the plan to TEA.
New Method of Federal Accountability
A key change resulting from the NCLB waiver is the elimination of the AYP designation. For the 2012-2013 school improvement requirements, TEA released 2012 AYP results that identified LEAs and campuses as “Meets AYP” or “Missed AYP” depending on how their scores on statewide assessments compared to federal performance standards. A campus that missed AYP for two consecutive years was subject to a variety of Title I school improvement interventions, including corrective action.
With the granting of the NCLB waiver, AYP has been superseded to allow for a more flexible, state-specific approach to identifying schools in need of intervention. Starting in the 2013–2014 school year, Texas LEAs and campuses will aim to meet federally approved annual measurable objectives in the areas of performance, participation, and graduation, and limits on use of alternative assessments.
Priority and Focus Schools
Beginning in the 2013–2014 school year, TEA will identify “Priority” or “Focus” Title I schools, as follows:
· “Priority” designates 5% of Title I campuses, consisting of School Improvement Grant-Texas Title I Priority Schools (SIG-TTIPS), high schools with graduation rates less than 60%, and lowest-performing schools based on statewide reading and math assessments.
· “Focus” designates 10% of Title I campuses, based on the widest gaps between student performance and the federal targets of 75% (known as “system safeguards”).
See Attachment 2 for a more detailed explanation of the identification of and supports and interventions for Title I schools that are identified as priority or focus schools and/or that missed a system safeguard.
For Further Information
The TEA Seeks Waiver of NCLB Provisions page of the TEA website includes links to TEA’s waiver submissions as well as to the waiver approval letter from the US Secretary of Education. TEA will be posting further information on the implications of the waiver as it becomes available.
For further information on the topics covered in this letter, refer to the following TEA divisions:
· General Title I program changes: Division of State and Federal Education Policy-ESEA Unit, (512) 463-9414 or firstname.lastname@example.org
· Amendments to the 2013–2014 NCLB Consolidated Grant Application: Division of Grants Administration, (512) 463-8525 or email@example.com
· Highly qualified teacher requirements: Division of Educator Standards, (512) 936-9831 or firstname.lastname@example.org
· System Safeguards Results: Division of Performance Reporting, (512) 463-9704 or email@example.com
· Priority and Focus schools, improvement, and interventions: Division of School Improvement and Support, (512) 463-1427 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Lizzette C. González Reynolds
Chief Deputy Commissioner