At-Risk Student Groups

Below are the most recent news, reports, and recommendations on how to use ESSA better serve at-risk student groups.

New America Study Looks at Illinois English-Learner Data

Recently, New America released a report regarding Illinois’ ESSA plan and how it will impact and improve how the state tracks and uses data regarding its fast-growing population of English learners. Home to the fifth-largest population of K–12 English learners in the country, New America…

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OK Stakeholders Express Concern About State’s ESSA Plan

In Oklahoma, advocates for students with disabilities, students of color, and low-income students are concerned about the state’s ESSA plan; while some “had recommendations adopted in the final plan,” others “say their concerns were brushed aside.”

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Ed Week Examines Arizona’s ESSA Plan

An Education Week blog takes a look at Arizona’s ESSA plan, and how civil rights advocates are concerned how it will impact transient students. The plan, which has already been approved by the U.S. Department of Education, “attaches different weights to students test scores, depending…

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Impacts of ESSA on English Language Learners

Education Week’s Larry Ferlazzo asks: “What is the impact of the Every Student Succeeds Act on English Language Learners?” He discusses this question with numerous contributors, including Margo Gottlieb, Sarah Said, Catherine Beck, Heidi Pace, Heather Wolpert-Gawron, Tabitha Dell’Angelo, and Lindsey Moses. Ferlazzo thinks ESSA could potentially…

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New America Foundation Education Expert Examines ESSA

New America Foundation’s Conor P. Williams writes that, when it comes to ESSA, he can say “I told you so.” The law “combines a thin veneer of civil rights equity with excruciating complexity and uncertain accountability.” Williams argues that it “takes a relatively simple federal…

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TX Submits ESSA Plan

The Texas Education Agency submitted its ESSA plan to the U.S. Department of Education. Belton Independent School District Superintendent Susan Kincannon expressed her concern about some aspects of the plan. “The (ESSA) plan includes an overly complicated methodology for evaluating and rating schools and continues…

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PA’s Governor Signs Off on State’s ESSA Plan

Governor Tom Wolf signed off on Pennsylvania’s ESSA plan and “submitted it to U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for her approval.” The plan establishes “ambitious yet attainable” goals of “raising student performance, increasing graduation rates and having English learners move toward achieving English language proficiency.”

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How to Evaluate Plans for English Learner Requirements

According to the Migration Policy Institute, ESSA “mandates that states provide greater information to the public regarding English proficiency progress and academic achievement for English Learners (ELs),” and “encourages states to engage with a variety of community stakeholders during the development of these accountability plans.”…

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New America has Advice on English Learner Data

New America Foundation released two policy papers that address using data on English Learners (EL) “in light of new flexibilities for setting EL outcomes, goals, and accountability metrics under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).” “Seeing Clearly: Five Lenses to Bring English Learner Data…

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Education Experts Urge States to Utilize Opportunities under ESSA to Help Homeless Students Succeed

According to Barbara Duffield, executive director of SchoolHouse Connection, and John Bridgeland, CEO of Civic Enterprises, ESSA creates a new opportunity to “help homeless students succeed academically.” The two urge states to “review notes on submitted plans from other states’ McKinney-Vento coordinators,” which “provide constructive responses on…

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Florida Seeks a Waiver

Florida is seeking a waiver from “several fundamental portions of ESSA that dictate how schools handle some of the country’s most historically underperforming and disadvantaged students.” The state is “asking, among other things, that it not be required to judge schools based on how well English-learners…

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NJ, IL, and LA Plans Focusing on English Learners

The 74 highlighted ESSA plans that focused on helping English Learners. According to the piece, New Jersey, Louisiana, and Illinois are “making good use of their newfound flexibility” for EL students. The 74 explains that ESSA leaves important EL decisions up to the states, including:…

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English Learner Policy Trends in ESSA Plans

Conor Williams, senior researcher for New America’s Education Policy Program, authored a piece on English Learner policy trends in ESSA plans. Williams raised concerns over state plans that are using various forms of “escalating proficiency targets.” He argues that “this approach to ELs and school…

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Education Advocates Weigh in on ESSA and Closing Gaps in Achievement

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, authored an opinion piece on closing the achievement gap under ESSA. Chavis believes, “raising awareness about ESSA among all parents, especially Black parents is vital.” He calls for parents to “increase…

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Civil and Human Rights Groups Oppose ESSA Regulation Rollback

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and 30 other organizations sent a letter to U.S. Senators opposing the possible rolling back of accountability regulations. The groups argued these regulations will help schools “faithfully implement the law” and “meet their legal obligations to historically marginalized groups of students including students of color, students with disabilities, and…

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NYC Leadership Academy Irma Zardoya Emphasizes Importance of Equity Under ESSA

Irma Zardoya, President and CEO of the NYC Leadership Academy, wrote an opinion piece in Education Week on the importance of equity under ESSA. Zardoya highlighted how some states are “considering how to make teachers more representative of the students in their classrooms” by examining…

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FL Students Participate in Student-Focused Assembly on ESSA

Almost 200 students from Broward County participated in a student-focused assembly on ESSA. The Black Press of America (NNPA) coordinated the event through a grant “designed to raise public awareness about ESSA.”

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Secretary King’s Memo Examines How States Can Close Opportunity Gaps

In an exit interview with Education Week, Dept. of Education Secretary John B. King, Jr. discussed ESSA and equity opportunities. King was encouraged by state chiefs focusing on the “relationship between ESSA and equity” and how states are “going to use ESSA to close opportunity…

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Dept. of Education Releases Final Testing Regulations

The Dept. of Education released final regulations on testing programs under ESSA. Changes included regulations on the number of students eligible to take alternative exams and other pilot programs. The final rules also expanded flexibility and sought to “clarify the parameters” when testing Native American…

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KY Community Members and Organizations Discuss Closing the Achievement Gap

The Louisville Urban League, Louisville and Kentucky chapters of the NAACP, and the Prichard Committee facilitated a discussion with community members and Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt on ESSA. Topics included closing the achievement gap, the state’s new accountability system, and underprivileged students.

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Using ESSA to Successfully Educate Children in Poverty

In a Huffington Post blog, Mark Elgart, president and CEO of AdvancED, raised concern over the election aftermath and the future of ESSA. Elgart argued that many state plans are still being developed and “continue to focus on maintaining a compliance regulatory function of accountability”…

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Letter from 10 U.S. Senators to President Obama Alleges Federal Overreach

As reported by the Washington Post and noted by Education Week, a bipartisan group of 10 U.S. Senators are calling on President Obama to “rein in the Education Department” arguing that the agency is “trying to overreach into matters that Congress intended to be decided…

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Expectations Under ESSA for English Language Learners

Under ESSA, schools will be required to make significant changes for English language learners as reported by Education Dive. States will need to “create a uniform process” when identifying English learners to “assign them services” and then transition them into a “general education system.” States…

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Personnel Committed to Helping Homeless Students Achieve

The 74 Million reported on lawmakers’ efforts to “track and improve outcomes of displaced students” under ESSA. Under the new act, schools will need to “hire personnel who are adequately prepared to help homeless students achieve.” Additionally, districts will be required to assign federal dollars…

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Using ESSA to Expand Personalized Learning in Rural Schools

Bellwether Education Partners released a new report on the use of personalized learning in rural schools. The paper called for states to “explore alternative accountability mechanisms” through ESSA’s flexibility in the Innovative Assessment pilot program. However, Bellwether expressed concerns that students and schools are largely…

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