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TO:                 Superintendents of Schools


FROM:            J. Duke Albanese, Commissioner


DATE:            December 18, 2001


RE:                 Chapter 125 and Chapter 127 Rulemaking




As you know, the Department is in the midst of the rule-making process for two rules that are critically important to educational programs in local school systems: Chapter 127 Instructional Program, Assessment, and Diploma Requirements and Chapter 125 Basic Approval Standards:  Public Schools and School Units.  Through hearings and written comments we learned almost immediately that some points need clarification, others elimination.


            The phrase in Chapter 125, section 4.01, that requires each school system to have a curriculum “subject to approval by the Commissioner” was included without change from the previous versions of the rule, which have been in effect since 1985.  Be advised that it is not my intent or the Department’s to approve curriculum unless the school is subject to an inspection or a performance review.  This phrase will be deleted in the next draft of the proposed rule change.


            The phrase in Chapter 127, section 6.01 B, that students study the five content areas of the Learning Results “each year of high school, through separate or integrated studies,” is new language.  The intent of this sentence is to promote integrated study across the content areas of the Learning Results.  It is not the intent of the Department to require all students to take a separate class in each of the five content areas each year of high school.  From our perspective, course requirements will remain a local policy decision.  In the next draft of the proposed rule change, this phrase will be replaced by a sentence clarifying that study can be integrated across two or more content areas.


            We have received a number of comments raising concerns about the timelines for implementation of the system of the Learning Results.  It is my feeling that we need adhere to these timelines, which are consistent with requirements in the law and provide a decade from the time of enactment of the system of Learning Results to the time students must meet the standards in order to graduate from high school.  To assist school systems in meeting this timeline, the Department is entering into contracts for developing assessments for local use and for managing student data.