Tag Archives: Undergraduate Education

Secretary’s Approved Letter for Georgia under the ESEA Flexibility

February 9, 2012


Honorable John Barge

Superintendent of Schools

State Department of Education

2066 Twin Towers East

205 Jesse Hill Jr. Drive SE

Atlanta, GA 30334

Dear Superintendent Barge:

I am pleased to approve Georgia’s request for ESEA flexibility, subject to Georgia’s meeting the condition described below. I congratulate you on submitting a request that demonstrates Georgia’s commitment to improving academic achievement and the quality of instruction for all of the State’s elementary and secondary school students.

Last fall, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) offered States the opportunity to request flexibility from certain requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, in exchange for rigorous and comprehensive plans designed to improve educational outcomes for all students, close achievement gaps, increase equity, and improve the quality of instruction. This flexibility is intended to support the groundbreaking reforms already taking place in many States and districts that we believe hold promise for improving outcomes for students. We are encouraged by the innovative thinking and strong commitment to improving achievement for all students that is evident in Georgia’s request.

Our decision to approve Georgia’s request for ESEA flexibility, subject to Georgia’s meeting the condition described below, is based on our determination that the request meets the four principles articulated in the Department’s September 23, 2011, document titled ESEA Flexibility. In particular, Georgia has: (1) demonstrated that it has college- and career-ready expectations for all students; (2) developed, and has a high-quality plan to implement, a system of differentiated recognition, accountability, and support for all Title I districts and schools in the State; (3) committed to developing, adopting, piloting, and implementing teacher and principal evaluation and support systems that support student achievement; and (4) provided an assurance that it will evaluate and, based on that evaluation, revise its administrative requirements to reduce duplication and unnecessary burden on districts and schools. Our decision is also based on Georgia’s assurance that it will meet these four principles by implementing the high-quality plans and other elements of its request as described in its request and in accordance with the required timelines. In approving Georgia’s request, we have taken into consideration the feedback we received from the panel of peer experts and Department staff who reviewed Georgia’s request, as well as Georgia’s revisions to its request in response to that feedback.

The waivers that comprise ESEA flexibility are being granted to Georgia pursuant to my authority in section 9401 of the ESEA. A complete list of the statutory provisions being waived is set forth in the table enclosed with this letter. Consistent with section 9401(d)(1) of the ESEA, I am granting waivers of these provisions through the end of the 2012-2013 school year. If Georgia meets the condition described below prior to the end of the 2012–2013 school year, I will extend the approval of these waivers through the end of the 2013–2014 school year, at which time Georgia may request an extension of these waivers.

In the coming days, you will receive a letter from Michael Yudin, Acting Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education, containing additional information regarding Georgia’s implementation of ESEA flexibility, as well as information regarding monitoring and reporting. Please note that the Department will closely monitor Georgia’s implementation of the plans, systems, and interventions detailed in its request in order to ensure that all students continue to receive the assistance and supports needed to improve their academic achievement.

Our decision to place a condition on the approval of Georgia’s request is based on the fact that Georgia will use the 2012-2013 school year to study and refine its College- and Career-Ready Performance Index (CCRPI), which will be an integral part of its new differentiated recognition, accountability, and support system. However, we have determined that Georgia is able to fully meet the ESEA flexibility principles in the 2012–2013 school year while it continues to finalize the CCRPI.

To receive approval to implement ESEA flexibility through the end of the 2013–2014 school year, Georgia must submit to the Department for review and approval an amended request incorporating the final version of the CCRPI, including by attaching to the amended request any technical documentation, administrative rules, and other relevant information.  If Georgia does not submit for review an amended request that includes the final version of the CCRPI or does not receive approval of the amended request, the waivers being granted to Georgia through ESEA flexibility will expire at the end of the 2012–2013 school year, and Georgia and its districts will be required to immediately resume complying with all ESEA requirements.

Georgia 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.

A copy of Georgia’s approved request for ESEA flexibility will be posted on the Department’s Web site at: http://www.ed.gov/esea/flexibility/requests. Again, I congratulate you on the approval of Georgia’s request for ESEA flexibility and thank you for the work that you and your staff have done. I look forward to continuing to support you as you implement Georgia’s ESEA flexibility request and work to improve the quality of instruction and academic achievement for all students.



Arne Duncan


cc: Governor Nathan Deal

Martha Reichrath, Deputy Superintendent

Provisions Waived Through Approval of Georgia’s

Request for ESEA Flexibility

ESEA Section



State-Level Reservation for School Improvement


Requires State educational agency (SEA) to reserve 4 percent of its Title I, Part A allocation for school improvement activities and to distribute at least 95 percent to local educational agencies (LEAs) for use in Title I schools in improvement, corrective action, and restructuring

The reservation is not waived; SEA may distribute section 1003(a) funds to LEAs for use in priority and focus schools

School Improvement Grants


Requires SEA to award School Improvement Grant (SIG) funds to LEAs with Title I schools in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring

Waiver permits SEA to award SIG funds to an LEA to implement one of the four SIG models in any priority school

2013–2014 Timeline

1111(b)(2)(E) – (H)

Establishes requirements for setting annual measurable objectives (AMOs)

Waiver permits SEA to set new ambitious but achievable AMOs

Schoolwide Poverty Threshold


Requires 40 percent poverty threshold to be eligible to operate a schoolwide program

Waiver permits LEA with less than 40 percent poverty to operate a schoolwide program in a priority school or a focus school that is implementing a schoolwide intervention

School Improvement Requirements

1116(b) (except (b)(13))

Requires LEA to identify schools for improvement, corrective action, and restructuring with corresponding requirements

1116(b)(13), which requires LEA to permit a child who has transferred to remain in the choice school through the highest grade in the school, is not waived

LEA Improvement Requirements

1116(c)(3) and (5) – (11)

Requires SEA to identify LEAs for improvement and corrective action with corresponding requirements




Requires SEA and LEAs to take a variety of actions to offer supplemental educational services to eligible students in schools in improvement, corrective action, restructuring


Reservation for State Academic Achievement Awards Program


Limits the schools that can receive Title I, Part A funds reserved for State awards program

Waiver allows funds reserved for State awards program to go to any reward school

Highly Qualified Teacher Plan Accountability Agreement Requirement


Requires SEA/LEA agreement on use of Title II, Part A funds for LEAs that miss AYP for three years and fail to make progress toward reaching annual objectives for highly qualified teachers

Waiver includes existing agreements and applies to restrictions on hiring paraprofessionals under Title I, Part A

Limitations on Transferability of Funds


Limits to 50 percent the amount an SEA may transfer from a covered program into another covered program or into Title I, Part A

Waiver applies to the percentage limitation, thereby permitting SEA to transfer up to 100 percent from a covered program


Limits to 50 percent or 30 percent the amount an LEA may transfer from a covered program into another covered program or into Title I, Part A

Waiver applies to the percentage limitations as well as to the restrictions on the use of transferred funds


Requires modification of plans and notice of transfer



Transferred funds are subject to the requirements of the program to which they are transferred

Waiver permits an LEA to exclude funds transferred into Title I, Part A from the base in calculating any set-aside percentages

Rural Schools


Requires LEAs that fail to make AYP to use funds to carry out the requirements under ESEA section 1116



Requires SEA to permit LEAs that fail to make AYP to continue to receive a Small, Rural School Achievement grant only if LEA uses funds to carry out ESEA section 1116


The corresponding regulations that implement these statutory provisions are also waived. Any ESEA statutory provision not listed in this table is not waived.

Enhancing Education through Technology (Ed-Tech) State Program

The primary goal of this program is to improve student achievement through the use of technology in elementary and secondary schools. Additional goals include:

  • helping all students become technologically literate by the end of the eighth grade, and
  • establishing innovative, research-based instructional methods that can be widely implemented through the integration of technology with both teacher training and curriculum development.

Types of Projects

Local activities include the support of continuing, sustained professional development programs and public-private partnerships. Activities also include:

  • the use of new or existing technologies to improve academic achievement;
  • the acquisition of curricula that integrate technology and are designed to meet challenging state academic standards;
  • the use of technology to increase parent involvement in schools; and
  • the use of technology to collect, manage, and analyze data to enhance teaching and school improvement.


Additional Information

Under the Ed-Tech program, the U.S. Department of Education provides grants to State educational agencies (SEAs) on the basis of their proportionate share of funding under Part A of Title I.

States may retain up to 5 percent of their allocations for State-level activities, and must distribute one-half of the remainder by formula to eligible local educational agencies and the other one-half competitively to eligible local entities.

In the Department’s fiscal year (FY) 2006 appropriations bill, Congress also included language overriding the statutory provision that SEAs use 50 percent of the amount available for grants to local education agencies (LEAs) for formula awards and 50 percent for competitive awards. The FY 2006 language provides SEAs with the flexibility to reserve up to 100 percent for competitive awards to eligible local entities.

Early Childhood Educator Professional Development Program

Types of Projects

The professional development programs must provide research-based training to improve early childhood pedagogy and improve the children’s language and literacy skills.  Projects focus on early reading and cognitive development for both the professional development activities and early childhood curricula.

Additional Information

The program authorizes project partnerships that include an entity with demonstrated experience in providing training to educators in early childhood education programs on:

  • identifying and preventing behavior problems, or
  • working with children identified as or suspected to be victims of abuse.

Allowable activities include, among others, professional development:

  • to familiarize early childhood educators with the application of recent research on child language and literary development, and
  • on working with children who have special needs (e.g., children who are limited English proficient).

Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants—Title II, Part A


State-level activities include but are not limited to (1) reforming teacher and principal certification programs, (2) providing support for new teachers, and (3) providing professional development for teachers and principals. Local-level activities include but are not limited to (1) recruiting and retaining effective teachers and principals, (2) providing professional development for teachers and principals, and (3) reducing class size.

Additional Information

In exchange for receiving funds, agencies are held accountable to the public for improvements in academic achievement. Title II, Part A provides these agencies the flexibility to use these funds creatively to address challenges to teacher and principal quality, whether they concern preparation and qualifications of new teachers and school leaders, recruitment and hiring, induction, professional development, retention, or the need for more capable principals and other school leaders to serve as effective school leaders.

Mathematics and Science Partnerships


This program is designed to improve the content knowledge of teachers and the performance of students in the areas of mathematics and science by encouraging states, institutions of higher education (IHEs), local education angencies (LEAs), and elementary and secondary schools to participate in programs that:

  • Improve and upgrade the status and stature of mathematics and science teaching by encouraging IHEs to
    improve mathematics and science teacher education;
  • Focus on the education of mathematics and science teachers as a career-long process;
  • Bring mathematics and science teachers together with scientists, mathematicians, and engineers to improve
    their teaching skills; and
  • Provide summer institutes and ongoing professional development for teachers to improve their knowledge and
    teaching skills.


The program supports projects to improve math and science education through partnerships, which include, at a minimum, a high-need LEA and the mathematics, science, or engineering department of an IHE.

Additional Information

The Mathematics and Science Partnership (MSP) program is intended to increase the academic achievement of students in mathematics and science by enhancing the content knowledge and teaching skills of classroom teachers. Partnerships between high-need school districts and the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) faculty in institutions of higher education are at the core of these improvement efforts. Other partners may include state education agencies, public charter schools or other public schools, businesses, and nonprofit or for-profit organizations concerned with mathematics and science education.

The MSP program is a formula grant program to the states, with the size of individual state awards based on student population and poverty rates. No state receives less than one half of one percent of the total appropriation. With these funds, each state is responsible for administering a competitive grant competition, in which grants are made to partnerships to improve teacher knowledge in mathematics and science.

Services to Students

A CAMP project provides services to assist participants in completing their first year of college, to assure the success of the participants in meeting the project’s objectives, and in succeeding in an academic program of study at the Institute of Higher Education (IHE). The types of allowable services include:

  • Outreach and recruitment services to eligible persons
  • Personal, academic, and career counseling
  • Tutoring and academic skill building instruction and assistance
  • Assistance with special admissions
  • Health services
  • Assistance in obtaining student financial aid
  • Housing support for students living in institutional facilities and commuting students
  • Exposure to cultural events, academic programs, and other educational/cultural activities not available to migrant youth
  • Internships

In addition, a CAMP project must provide follow up services for students after they have completed their first year of college. However, grantees may not use more than 10 percent of their awarded funds for follow up services. Follow up services could include:

  • Monitoring and reporting the academic progress of a student’s first year of college and their subsequent years in college
  • Referring students to on- or off- campus providers of counseling services, academic assistance, or financial aid


Performance Reporting and Evaluation

Annual Performance Reporting allows programs to determine the overall effectiveness in meeting program goals and objectives, such as GPRA 1, GPRA 2, and Efficiency targets.

Program evaluation allows programs to: 1) provide data on GPRA 1,GPRA 2 and Efficiency targets; 2) determine at what level of quality program activities are being implemented; 3) identify strengths and weaknesses in program implementation and program effectiveness through tools such as exit interviews, surveys, observations, recruitment, counseling, or tutoring logs, and research analyses (finding correlations between practices and results). Program evaluation is both formative and summative, allowing for the use of annual performance results that may lead to recommendations for changes in programming.

Meeting Materials

Annual Director’s Meeting

July 31 – August 2, 2017 ● Washington, DC

Grant Management and Monitoring

Monitoring is an integral part of the Department of Education’s grant administration and oversight. The end goal of the Department’s monitoring is to promote the efficient and effective achievement of the program objectives. These objectives are in support the Department’s mission to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access. OME conducts monitoring to:

  • Examine the objectives and results achieved by a HEP or CAMP project, particularly progress against GPRA indicators
  • Review implementation of a HEP or CAMP project with a focus on project quality and areas of improvements
  • Determine project compliance with applicable statutes/regulations; and
  • Examine the resolution of prior findings from monitoring reviews and audits.

Financial Management

The Department of Education requires its grantees to maintain adequate financial management systems. An adequate financial system is one that enables the grantee to accurately identify the source and disbursement of all funds for federally sponsored activities. To ensure transparency and compliance with the terms of the grant, grantees must retain records of their financial management procedures. A high-quality financial management system should also allow the grantee to show the relationship between financial data and performance outcomes.