Federal Activities

Below are the most recent news, reports, and recommendations relating to the federal government’s activities around ESSA.

$387 Million For Innovative Assessments Available Starting Monday

Starting Monday, states will be able to apply for $378 million in competitive funding from the U.S. Dept. of Education to put toward innovative assessments, Alyson Klein reports in Education Week. “As required by the Every Student Succeeds Act, the department is looking to give…

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DeVos Delivers Remarks to National School Boards Association

Recently, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos gave a speech in front of the National School Boards Association. As part of her remarks, she noted that “there is no universal school safety plan that will work for every school across our country.” She notes that a “prescriptive…

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Feds Release School Spending Guidance

Andrew Ujifusa reports for Education Week that federal education officials have “released proposed guidance to schools about a provision of the Every Student Succeeds Act that prohibits schools from cutting state and local money from education and simply filling the hole with federal funding.” This…

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NCEE to Examine ESSA Pilot Programs

Sara Friedman reports for T.H.E. Journal that the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Evaluation is seeking proposals from vendors to undertake “evaluations for two programs authorized under the Every Student Succeeds Act—the Innovative Assessment and Accountability Authority (IADA) and the Flexibility for…

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New Interim Leader for Hispanic Education Initiative Appointed

Corey Mitchell reports for Education Week that U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has “appointed Andrea Ramirez as interim Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.” Ramirez—who currently serves as Executive Director of the Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives…

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States Allowed to Try More Than One Test as Part of Innovative Assessment Pilot?

According to Alyson Klein in Education Week, a December message from federal officials to the Georgia Department of Education, state officials who are thinking about applying for ESSA’s Innovative Assessment pilot program “don’t have to pick just one exam for your test drive—but you do have…

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Looking Ahead to the 116th Congress

The 74’s Carolyn Phenicie has “6 Education Predictions for the New Split Congress,” including some “ESSA changes.” The Education Department has “set a March 1, 2019, deadline for states to change their ESSA plans for how they’ll rate schools in the 2019-20 school year,” Phenicie…

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Chief Architect of ESSA, Sen. Lamar Alexander, to Retire

Alyson Klein and Andrew Ujifusa report for Education Week that “U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., who has been Capitol Hill’s leading Republican on education issues for years” announced that he’s retiring in 2020. Sen. Alexander was a chief architect of the bi-partisan Every Student Succeeds Act…

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Civil Rights Groups Seek Oversight of DeVos ESSA Implementation

Andrew Ujifusa writes for Education Week that a “leading coalition of civil rights groups wants federal lawmakers to focus on oversight of the U.S. Department of Education when the new Congress begins next year.” In a letter to Capitol Hill, the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights “asked Congress to…

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Feds Looking Into ESSA’s “Dangerous School” Transfer Program

Alyson Klein reports for Education Week that a “little-known provision of the Every Student Succeeds Act allows students who attend a ‘persistently dangerous school,’ or who become the victim of a violent crime on school grounds, to transfer to a safer school.” Now, federal officials…

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Dept. of Education Watchdog Will “Look Into” ESSA Oversight, Civil Rights Issues

Klein reports for Education Week that “The U.S. Department of Education’s internal watchdog—the Office of the Inspector General—will be looking at the agency’s process for dismissing civil rights complaints.” The OIG will also “examine the department’s oversight of state accountability systems developed under the Every Student…

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House Democrats Getting Ready to “Take On” Secretary DeVos?

Michael Stratford reports for Politico that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is likely to “face new scrutiny” next year from committees that will soon be led by Democrats in the U.S. House. In particular, Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA), who will become Chairman of the House education…

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Feds Provide Guidance for Changing State ESSA Plans

Alyson Klein reports in Education Week that federal officials recently outlined the process for making changes to state ESSA plans. State chiefs who want to do so “must first consult with their governors, and give the education community an opportunity to comment.” After that, they must…

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Feds Hold School Report Card “Design Challenge”

Alyson Klein reports for Education Week that one of ESSA’s challenges is that school report cards must now include a ton of new information. The question, then, is how states can ensure this information is comprehensible for the public? “Enter the U.S. Department of Education’s…

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Presidential 2020 Ed-Election Primer

Education Week’s Alyson Klein writes in that, while she knows we are all “bummed” the midterm elections are over, we should fear not—the 2020 presidential election is “right around the corner.” Klein says there is a “good chance that education could be a higher-profile-than-usual issue…

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New Governors & the Impact on ESSA, Education

Klein reports in Education Week about the 17 new governors elected last week. She writes how, “thanks in part to the Every Student Succeeds Act and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ efforts to shrink the U.S. Department of Education, governors will have even more say…

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Feds Publish ESSA Report Card “Parent Guide”

Alyson Klein reports in Education Week that the U.S. Department of Education has put out a new guide to help parents navigate the labyrinth of data that states must include in their new, ESSA-based report cards. “Parents deserve to know what is happening in their child’s school,”…

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Feds Put Out ESSA-Mandated Rural Ed Report

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education published the Section 5005 Final Report on Rural Education—aka the “Rural Report” that is mandated by Section 5005 of ESSA. The report “outlines actions the Department will take to meaningfully increase the involvement of rural schools and school…

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Education-Election Questions Answered

“Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard that the 2018 election” is today, Alyson Klein reports for Education Week. “So what are the big issues? Which state races should you be paying attention to? What about congressional races? And what will the…

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Midterm Races ESSA-Watchers Should Keep Their Eyes On

“U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos may have approved every state’s vision for implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act—but that doesn’t mean the plans are all done and dusted,” Klein also writes in Education Week. “States can still make changes to their plans,” and after…

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Four More States Looking to Leverage Innovative Assessment Pilot Program

Alyson Klein reports in Education Week how in the wake of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ September decision to open ESSA’s Innovative Assessment Pilot to a second round of applications, four states—Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, and South Carolina—have “raised their hands” regarding their interest in participating. If approved, they would…

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Teacher Voices Raised

Rebecca Klein reports for HuffPost that a “coalition of advocacy and teacher groups” has sued the U.S. Dept. of Education in an attempt to get “information related to its decision to allow schools to purchase firearms using federal funds.” Controversy over this issue “started in August,…

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Innovative Assessment Decisions Raise Concerns in Georgia

Writing in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, columnist Maureen Downey is skeptical of the Georgia Board of Education’s recent approval of three pilot tests via ESSA’s Innovative Assessments program. “The danger here is that you dial back expectations,” she quotes Fordham’s Amber Northern. “If you are going…

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DeVos Sends ESSA Letter & Guidebook to Parents

Education Secretary DeVos recently “unveiled” an ESSA letter and guidebook that aims to help parents “understand the flexibility provided to States and school districts” under ESSA, according to Jessica Campisi in Education Dive. The guidebook will share how ESSA’s flexibility gives parents an opportunity to influence…

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Feds Give Green Light to Florida ESSA Plan

Education Week’s Alyson Klein declares, “It’s official.” After a long and at times contentious process, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has (finally) given Florida’s ESSA plan the thumbs up. That means all state plans (as well as those from Puerto Rico and DC) are now approved….

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