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NJDOE PULLS CHANGES TO ABBOTT ACCOUNTABILITY MEASURES

AGREES TO WORK WITH ELC ON NEW PROPOSAL

State Education Commissioner William Librera has decided to withdraw his proposal to the NJ Supreme Court to change the Abbott X requirements for providing assistance to low performing elementary schools. The Commissioner has also agreed to work with ELC on a new proposal, and seek ELC support before filing with the Court in the future.

After two sessions with Judge Richard Williams – the mediator appointed by the Supreme Court – it became clear that the proposed accountability changes needed further development. A major issue identified in mediation is the need to have a single process for giving assistance to low performing schools and districts that meets the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), the State Quality Single Accountability Continuum (QSAC), and the Abbott mandates. Each of these laws, and the Abbott court rulings, require the NJ Department of Education to intervene and help both schools and districts identified as low performing or in need of improvement.

"We look forward to working with the Commissioner on devising a single, unified approach to helping Abbott schools and districts that are not making sufficient progress in improving student achievement," said David Sciarra, ELC Executive Director and Abbott counsel.

In the meantime, 42 elementary schools identified as low performing under Abbott X will undergo a thorough review by external evaluation teams, called Collaborative Assessment and Planning for Achievement (CAPA) Teams. CAPA teams have been assembled and trained by NJDOE, and are already in some of the schools, or about to begin work in others. The CAPA intervention process is based on models used in Kentucky and North Carolina, and is required by the Abbott X order. CAPA also satisfies the standards for corrective action under the NCLB law.

"CAPA is a cutting edge initiative, developed by ELC and NJDOE in June 2003," said Mr. Sciarra. "We have the Commissioner’s assurance that CAPA will move forward as planned, and we are looking forward to analyzing the results of the process."