Secretary’s Amendment Letter (Tennessee) ESEA Flexibility

Date: August 31, 2012

Honorable Kevin Huffman
Commissioner of Education
Tennessee State Department of Education
6th Floor, Andrew Johnson Tower
710 James Robertson Parkway
Nashville, TN 37243-0375

Dear Commissioner Huffman:

I am writing in response to the Tennessee Department of Education’s (TDOE’s) request to amend its approved ESEA flexibility request by revising its annual measurable objectives (AMOs). Following discussions between the U.S. Department of Education (Department) and your staff regarding the proposed revision to Tennessee’s AMOs, the Department has determined that the revised AMOs continue to be consistent with principles of ESEA flexibility. For this reason, I am approving TDOE’s amended request, which we will post on the Department’s website. A summary of TDOE’s requested amendment is enclosed with this letter. As you know, any further requests to amend TDOE’s ESEA flexibility plan must be submitted to the Department for review and approval.

TDOE continues to have an affirmative responsibility to ensure that it and its districts are in compliance with Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, and age in their implementation of ESEA flexibility as well as their implementation of all other Federal education programs. These laws include 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, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

I am confident that TDOE will continue to implement the reforms it proposed under its approved ESEA flexibility request and advance its efforts to hold schools and school districts accountable for the achievement of all students. If you have any questions regarding the implementation of your ESEA flexibility request, please do not hesitate to contact Victoria Hammer of my staff at



Deborah S. Delisle


cc: Governor Bill Haslam
Erin O’Hara, Assistant Commissioner of Data and Communications

Amendment to the Tennessee Department of Education’s Approved ESEA Flexibility Request

The following is a summary of the Tennessee Department of Education’s (TDOE’s) amendment request. The Department is approving the following amendment because Tennessee’s ESEA flexibility request, as amended, continues to be aligned with the principles of ESEA flexibility. Please refer to the Department’s website (www.ed.gov for Tennessee’s original and amended ESEA flexibility requests.

  • Set Ambitious But Achievable Annual Measurable Objectives (Element 2.B)
  • Revision: TDOE will revise its annual measurable objective (AMO) baselines based on 2010-2011 assessment results and, accordingly, its yearly AMOs as proposed in its original ESEA flexibility request. Resetting its AMOs is necessary in order to (1) apply the one and two percent “caps” on the percentage of proficient and advanced scores of students with disabilities who take the State’s alternate assessment based on alternate academic standards and alternate assessment based on modified academic achievement standards, respectively; (2) not include gifted students in calculating the baselines and AMOs for the students with disabilities subgroup; (3) include English Learners who have exited the limited English proficient (LEP) subgroup within the last two years in calculating the baselines and AMOs for the LEP subgroup; and (4) reflect in the baselines and AMOs the waivers that the Department granted the State on July 20th, 2012 to allow it to use, with respect to a student who is not yet enrolled in high school but who takes Algebra I or English II and the corresponding end of course assessment, the student’s score on that assessment for federal accountability purposes for the grade in which the student is enrolled.

Secretary's Amendment Letter (Tennessee) ESEA Flexibility