Now that the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) has been signed into law, we’re keeping close tabs on national ESSA-related news as well as ESSA news from the eight most populous states in the union: CA, TX, FL, NY, IL, PA, OH, and GA. Our hope is that these brief round-ups will help you stay current on ESSA and better understand the impact of this new legislation on your role in education.
If I missed anything, please let me know in the comments! I may include it the following week.
The US Department of Education sent a seven page letter regarding assessment to all Chief State School Officers last week. The letter reiterates ESSA’s seven principles for good assessments and provides examples of how States and districts can use ESSA funds to support fewer, smarter high-quality assessments. These examples include assessment audits, implementing systems to collect, manage, and analyze assessment data, supporting assessment literacy, increasing transparency and timeliness, increasing communications about the purpose of statewide assessments, making assessment results more usable and understandable for educators and parents, improving the quality of assessments, and increasing the validity and reliability of statewide assessments. US DoE
Focus on Assessment
At least 39 states have already started working to improve the quality of assessments or reducing unnecessary tests. And relevant to the opt-out movement: although ESSA will allow states to determine what happens to schools that miss their assessment participation target, during the transition the DoE will continue to enforce the requirement that 95% of students take state tests. EdWeek
The US DoE sought comments about how it should regulate under ESSA, and it received over 350 responses. Respondents, representing national associations, parents, and everyone in between, sounded off on state accountability, assessment, test participation, teacher qualifications, and more. Some commenters wanted states to have as much freedom as possible across the board, and others requested a substantial amount of federal guidance. There was little consensus. EdWeek
Following Arne Duncan
The new Secretary of Education, John B. King Jr., has less than a year before a new administration is installed in Washington. In a 3,000 word interview, he says he will focus on educational equity, and he believes that many aspects of ESSA have the potential to be equity-enhancing. Learning First
Ten national organizations have formally agreed to form the State and Local ESSA Implementation Network to work together to help facilitate the transition to ESSA. The ten organizations are NGA, NCSL, NASBE, NSBA, AASA, NAESP, NASSP, AFT, NEA, and NPTA. National School Boards Association
The Council of Chief State School Officers is partnering with Chiefs for Change, Achieve, and Ed Counsel to help states design new accountability systems. The groups “hope to provide sample accountability models and best practices for states”, partially through conference calls with states in the coming months. Politico
As one blogger writes, two new reports indicate that parent and family engagement may be a point of emphasis for California as ESSA is implemented. ESSA authorizes grants for Statewide Family Engagement Centers. “The law also calls for statewide sharing of effective engagement practices, and directs more engagement-related funds toward disadvantaged students.” EdWeek Blogs
Taking It Slow
After some public outcry in response to an announced date of July 1 for the completion of a new statewide plan, State Superintendent Lonny Rivera said that there’s no cause for alarm – the plan will not be rushed to meet that date. Rivera said he hopes Ohio will be able to take much longer, even a full year, to draft a plan, but that the US DoE has not yet announced the due date. Rivera wants parents, teachers, administrators, and school boards to offer input and help shape the plan. Cleveland