Federal Activities

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

U.S. Department of Education Announces School Safety Grant Information

In this press release, the U.S. Department of Education states that, in “support of the recommendations from the Federal Commission on School Safety’s (FCSS) final report,” the Department formally announced that it is “accepting applications for three fiscal year 2019 grant competitions that support locally…

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Indiana, Feds Resolve Struggling School Funding Dispute

“U.S. education officials have resolved a dispute among Indiana officials by clarifying that struggling schools within ‘transformation zones’ can be eligible to receive federal school improvement grant money beyond four years,” reports Ted Booker for the South Bend Tribune. “The dispute was resolved by the…

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Legislators Introduce Teacher Shortage Bill

According to InsiderNJ, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Representatives Donald Norcross (D-NJ) and Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) have reintroduced a bill that seeks to address the nation’s increasingly problematic teacher shortage. The Supporting the Teaching Profession Through Revitalizing Investments in Valuable Educators (STRIVE) Act “would overhaul the student loan…

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DeVos Smart for “Lenient Attitude” Toward ESSA Plans?

While states “frequently and successfully flexed their muscles” when negotiating the details of their Every Student Succeeds Act plans with the U.S. Department of Education, the question of “whether Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was smart to let them take that approach or often just…

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“Blanket Approval” of ESSA Plans

“Even when state education agencies ignored or went against feedback from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) in their plans to comply with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), their plans were still approved,” writes Linda Jacobson regarding the same Duff and Wohlstetter report.  The new…

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Dems Push Bill to Increase Dept of Education’s Budget

According to this Andrew Ujifusa blog post in Education Week, a bill in Congress to increase the U.S. Department of Education’s budget by more than $4 billion will soon be considered by the full House of Representatives after passage out of the House Appropriation Committee….

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Democrats to Unveil Education Spending Bill

In this Education Week piece, Andrew Ujifusa provides an overview of “what to watch for” as Democrats “consider as spending bill” that “funds the U.S. Department of Education for fiscal 2020.” One program to watch is the proposed “$1.2 billion program that supports school safety,…

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DeVos Talks ESSA, Budget in Recent Public Appearances

“After weathering a political storm over the Trump administration’s proposed budget at the end of March, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos continued her run of public appearances into April,” writes Andrew Ujifusa for Education Week. “DeVos received widely varied reactions from state education leaders…

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Top House Education Dem to CCSSO: ESSA Not a “Blank Check”

Virginia Democrat Rep. Bobby Scott told state school chiefs at the CCSSO Legislative Conference last week that “the Every Student Succeeds Act does give them more flexibility on setting policy and complying with federal law, it is not ‘a blank check,’” reports Alyson Klein for Education…

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DeVos Takes Part in “Fireside Chat” with CCSSO

On Monday, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos participated in a “fireside chat” with state chiefs at the CCSSO State Education Leaders’ Conference. According to Politico’s Nicole Gaudiano, DeVos asked “K-12 education chiefs to “continue to raise the bar” as they implement the Every Student Succeeds…

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Arizona Could Lose Funding Over Assessments

According to the Arizona Capitol Times, in 2016, a bipartisan majority of Arizona legislators “approved a law allowing school districts to offer a ‘menu of assessments’ to choose from, such as the SAT or ACT, rather than one statewide standardized test, currently the AZMerit test.”…

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Trump Administration Outlines K-12 Budget

Andrew Ujifusa reports for Education Week that for the third year in a row, the Trump Administration’s budget proposal for the Education Department includes major cuts. “As with last year’s budget request, Trump wants to eliminate $2.1 billion in federal funding for teacher training under…

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New Mexico Reshaping Tests and Evaluations and Resubmit Plans

New Mexico’s Public Education Department is set to begin changes to the state’s standardized test and teacher evaluations. Last week the department posted surveys for local stakeholders to weigh in on the upcoming changes. After the feedback period closes, PED plans to resubmit their state…

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Will New Mexico’s ESSA Changes Test DeVos?

“New Mexico is planning a major shakeup of its plan to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act,” writes Alyson Klein for Education Week. “And it’s not the only state that’s mulling changes. Among those with potential revisions in the works: Indiana, Michigan, South Carolina, and…

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California Receives Early Development Grant

“Though California has been at odds with the federal government on many fronts,” writes Zaidee Stavely for EdSource, the “state is getting a boost from the Trump administration to lay the groundwork for expanding preschool and child care programs.” California and 44 other states have received…

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Supplement-Not-Supplant – “Sorry Not Sorry”

Marguerite Roza writes in this Brookings piece that “new draft guidance the U.S. Department of Education released last month on monitoring the ‘supplement-not-supplant’ provision [of Title I] might be perceived as the current administration issuing a big sorry not sorry to equity advocates.” According to…

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House Dems Ready to “Scrutinize” Department of Education

Newly empowered majority Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are ready to provide vigorous oversight of U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos department in the coming months, reports Erica L. Green for the New York Times. Among the issues targeted by Democrats will be…

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$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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