We’re keeping close tabs on national news around the Every Student Succeeds Act 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 updates will help you stay current on ESSA and better understand the impact of this new legislation on your role in education. Previous ESSA posts can be found here.
Trends in State Legislation
The majority of state legislatures are past their bill-introduction deadline for 2016, and while there is a high number of bills dealing with K-12 education (615), the number is actually down from 2015 (774). Of those 615 bills, 530 deal with assessment, 162 with accountability systems, 105 with educator policy, 57 with student data systems & privacy, and 37 with curriculum or instruction. More categories can be found in the second chart here. Many bills deal with multiple topics – at least 149 bills deal with both assessment and accountability, for instance. We will likely see a large increase in education bills next year, as the Department of Education has yet to release all of its guidelines for ESSA implementation. EdWeek Blogs
Less Common Core
ESSA allows states to adopt whatever standards they please, and over 20 states have already begun to move away from the Common Core. This post also notes that public support has not only dropped for Common Core, but also for the phrase “shared standards.” District Administration
Parent, Community Engagement
ESSA contains language that is designed to change how schools think about engagement, but ESSA alters the engagement landscape in more ways than just that. Although it will be up to states to decide whether to allocate significant funding to parent and community engagement, ESSA certainly allows for it, and advocates for the issue are excited about the possibilities ESSA brings. EdWeek Blogs
The first session of ESSA negotiated rulemaking concluded last Wednesday, and while there’s little tangible progress so far, there’s a lot to sort through. The best full summary of the first three days may be this one from Washington Partners, but Alyson Klein provides some excellent, digestible analysis for EdWeek here. These EdWeek Blogs on the discussions around testing for those with severe cognitive abilities and English-language learners are also excellent. The next negotiated rulemaking session is planned for April 6-8.
In many states, there is a power struggle brewing as state boards of education try to secure some of the decision-making power that ESSA is handing over to states. Currently, these boards often find themselves with less influence than local boards, state departments of education, and state legislatures. Education Week
Corwin author Laura Greenstein has written a blog post titled “5 Ways ESSA Will Change Local Assessment Systems.” Assessment Network