Department of Education.
Notice of written findings and compliance agreement with the Hawaii Department of Education.
This notice is being published in the Federal Register consistent with section 457(b)(2) of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA). Section 457 of GEPA authorizes the U.S. Department of Education (the Department) to enter into a compliance agreement with a recipient that is failing to comply substantially with Federal program requirements. In order to enter into a compliance agreement, the Department must determine, in written findings, that the recipient cannot comply with the applicable program requirements until a future date and that a compliance agreement is a viable means of bringing about such compliance.
On August 29, 2008, the Department entered into a compliance agreement with the Hawaii Department of Education (HIDOE). Section 457(b)(2) of GEPA requires the Department to publish written findings leading to a compliance agreement, with a copy of the compliance agreement, in the Federal Register.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Dr. Valeria Ford, U.S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 3W118, Washington, DC 20202-6132. Telephone: (202) 260-0826.
If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1-800-877-8339.
Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer diskette) on request to the contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (Title I), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, requires each State receiving Title I funds to satisfy certain requirements.
Under Title I, each State was required to adopt academic content and student academic achievement standards in at least mathematics, reading or language arts, and, beginning in the 2005-2006 school year, science. These standards must include the same knowledge and levels of achievement expected of all public school students in the State. Content standards must specify what all students are expected to know and be able to do; contain coherent and rigorous content; and encourage the teaching of advanced skills. Achievement standards must be aligned with the State's academic content standards and must describe at least three levels of proficiency to determine how well students in each grade are mastering the content standards. A State must provide descriptions of the competencies associated with each student's academic achievement level and must determine the assessment scores (“cut scores”) that differentiate among the achievement levels.
Title I also requires each State to implement a student assessment system used to evaluate whether students are mastering the subject material reflected in the State's academic content standards. By the 2005-2006 school year, States were required to administer mathematics and reading or language arts assessments yearly during grades 3-8 and once during grades 10-12. Further, beginning with the 2007-2008 school year, each State was required to administer a science assessment in at least one grade in each of the following grade spans: 3-5, 6-9, and 10-12.
In addition to a general assessment, Title I requires States to develop and administer at least one alternate assessment for students with disabilities who cannot participate in the general assessment, with or without accommodations. An alternate assessment may be based on grade-level achievement standards, alternate achievement standards, or modified achievement standards. Like the general assessment, any alternate assessment must satisfy the requirements for high technical quality, including validity, reliability, accessibility, objectivity, and consistency with nationally recognized professional and technical standards.
In August 2007, HIDOE submitted evidence of its standards and assessment system. The Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education (Assistant Secretary) submitted that evidence to a panel of experts for peer review. Following that review, the Assistant Secretary concluded that HIDOE's standards and assessment system did not meet a number of the Title I requirements.
Section 454 of GEPA, 20 U.S.C. 1234c, sets out the remedies available to the Department when it determines that a recipient “is failing to comply substantially with any requirement of law” applicable to Federal program funds the Department administers. Specifically, the Department is authorized to—
(1) Withhold funds;
(2) Compel compliance through a cease and desist order;
(3) Enter into a compliance agreement with the recipient; or
(4) Take any other action authorized by law. 20 U.S.C. 1234c(a).
In a letter dated October 30, 2007, to Patricia Hamamoto, Superintendent of Education for HIDOE, the Assistant Secretary notified HIDOE that, to remain eligible to receive Title I funds, it would have to enter into a compliance agreement with the Department. The purpose of a compliance agreement is “to bring the recipient into full compliance with the applicable requirements of law as soon as feasible and not to excuse or remedy past violations of such requirements.” 20 U.S.C. 1234f(a). In order to enter into a compliance agreement with a recipient, the Department must determine, in written findings, that the recipient cannot comply until a future date with the applicable program requirements and that a compliance agreement is a viable means for bringing about such compliance.
In accordance with the requirements of section 457(b) of GEPA, 20 U.S.C. 1234f(b), on March 27, 2008, Department officials conducted a public hearing in Hawaii to assess whether a compliance agreement with HIDOE might be appropriate. Patricia Hamamoto, the Superintendent of Education for HIDOE, and Dr. Robert Campbell, the Director of Program Support and Development for HIDOE, testified at this hearing. The Department considered the testimony provided at the March 2008 public hearing and all other relevant information and materials and concluded that HIDOE would not be able to correct its non-compliance with Title I standards and assessment requirements immediately.
On August 29, 2008, the Assistant Secretary issued written findings, holding that compliance by HIDOE with the Title I standards and assessment requirements is genuinely not feasible until a future date. Under Title I, HIDOE was required to implement its final assessment system no later than the 2005-2006 school year. The evidence that HIDOE submitted in August 2007 indicated that, well after the statutory deadline had passed, its standards and assessment system still did not fully meet Title I requirements. In addition, due to the enormity and complexity of the work needed to bring HIDOE's standards and assessment system into full compliance, HIDOE cannot Start Printed Page 67309immediately comply with all of the Title I requirements.
The Assistant Secretary also determined that a compliance agreement represents a viable means of bringing about compliance because of the steps HIDOE has already taken to comply and the plan it has developed for further action. The compliance agreement sets out the action plan that HIDOE must implement to come into compliance with Title I requirements. This plan, coupled with specific reporting requirements, will allow the Assistant Secretary to monitor closely HIDOE's progress in meeting the terms of the compliance agreement.
The Superintendent of Education for HIDOE, Patricia Hamamoto, signed the compliance agreement on July 30, 2008, and the Assistant Secretary signed the compliance agreement on August 29, 2008.
As required by section 457(b)(2) of GEPA, 20 U.S.C. 1234f(b)(2), the text of the Assistant Secretary's written findings is set forth as Appendix A and the compliance agreement is set forth as Appendix B of this notice.
Electronic Access to This Document
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The official version of a document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations is available on GPO Access at: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/nara/index.html.
(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1234c, 1234f)Start Signature
Dated: November 6, 2008.
Kerri L. Briggs,
Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education.
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[FR Doc. E8-26862 Filed 11-12-08; 8:45 am]
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