Teachers and Schools

Below are the most recent news, reports and recommendations around ESSA relating to teachers and schools.

State Officials Announce Delay in School Reports

According to Shelly Conlon of the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, the state’s annual school report cards won’t be released until November because of a “number of new items” added under ESSA. This includes “information on how many students go on to college, discipline numbers and…

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Experts Not Very Keen on Indiana’s “Two Grade” School Rating System

National experts told Indiana education officials recently that “the state’s plan to give schools two A-F grades for the foreseeable future is unsustainable—and that parts of both grade models could be problematic going forward,” Shaina Cavazos reports for Chalkbeat. Indiana has this two-tiered system because…

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Idaho Identifies Struggling Schools

Clark Corbin reports that in Idaho State Department of Education officials recently released a list of the state’s 29 lowest-performing schools as part of the state’s ESSA plan. Schools were identified based on a variety of indicators—assessments, student growth, ELL proficiency, student surveys, graduation rates, college and…

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CO Schools, Activists Sue Over Foster Care Student Transport Law

Six school districts, two associations, and two individuals are “pushing back against a new state law aimed at improving school transportation for students in foster care,” Christie Renick reports for the Chronicle of Social Change. This law (HB 18-1306)—which helps Colorado comply with ESSA’s foster youth transportation provision—allocates nearly…

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Push in East Baton Rouge to Use ESSA Funding for Choice

Charles Lussier reports for The Advocate that as the East Baton Rouge Parish public school system works to “quickly” spend a $2.2 million federal school improvement grant, a number of school choice advocacy groups are pressing school officials to use this ESSA-based funding to “expand ‘high quality options’ as…

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Strategic Leadership and School Improvement

Linda Jacobson reports for Education Dive that, with almost all state ESSA plans approved by the U.S. Department of Education, the “question related to school improvement isn’t so much what works to help low-performing schools, but how to implement strategies in the most effective way,”…

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DC Preparing for Five-Star Rating System Implementation

Perry Stein reports for the Washington Post that, this December, the District of Columbia will roll out its five-star school rating system, which “reflects a strategy to make school data more accessible to families and provide a uniform approach to assessing charter and traditional public…

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Most Professional Development Not Meeting Federal Guidelines

Amelia Harper reports in Education Dive that a new report from the Frontline Research & Learning Institute called “Bridging the Gap” has “compared data from more than 200 school districts against the Every Student Succeeds Act’s definition of professional learning, created with input from Learning Forward,…

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Pittsburgh to Participate in ESSA-Based School Improvement Pilot Program

Elizabeth Behrman reports for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the City of Pittsburgh’s “latest efforts to turn around its struggling schools are going to be a model for other Pennsylvania districts looking to boost their performance.” The city school district is one of three in the…

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What’s the Deal with “Highly Qualified Teachers” Under ESSA?

In the latest installment of Education Week’s “answering your ESSA questions” series, Alyson Klein responds to an anonymous query from an educator who participated in the publication’s Every Student Succeeds Act summit back in May: “Is highly qualified teacher still required under ESSA?” The “short…

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Montana Passes on A-F School Ratings

Matt Hoffman reports that Montana’s new, ESSA-based “report card for telling the public how schools are performing won’t assign an overall grade,” but will instead “focus on comparing schools across individual categories.”

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State Assessments, Teacher Evaluations, and ESSA

The National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado published a policy brief by Kevin Close, Audrey Amrein-Beardsley, and Clarin Collins that examines state-level assessments and teacher evaluation systems in the ESSA context and offers “some steps in the right direction.”

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ESSA and School Takeovers

Alan Greenblatt writes in Governing that since New Jersey became the first state to allow takeovers of local school districts by a state in 1989, more than 100 districts have been “appropriated” in states across the country as other states followed the Garden State’s example….

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Evaluate Schools Through More Than Just Test Scores Under ESSA?

The Education Research Alliance for New Orleans “released a new study that explores how school ratings would change if states evaluated school performance differently.” Sara Slaughter reports for News from Tulane that, as the “national debate on how states should measure school performance under” ESSA…

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How Are States Addressing Continuous Improvement?

Education Week’s Alyson Klein shares information about how states are approaching continuous improvement in their ESSA plans. While the term “continuous improvement” isn’t explicitly mentioned in the law, Klein notes, “A handful of states are using the law as an opportunity to rethink their systems through a continuous-improvement…

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NCLD Toolkit on Advocating for Professional Development

Because ESSA sets aside professional development funding for all states and local districts, the National Center for Learning Disabilities has put together a helpful toolkit “for parents and advocates to use in their schools and districts” to advocate for professional development that will improve outcomes for students…

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ESSA = Lots More Info for Pennsylvania Parents

Dale Mezzacappa reports for Philadelphia Public School Notebook that, thanks to Pennsylvania’s ESSA plan, within the next two years Keystone State parents and education stakeholders of all kinds will have a lot more information at their proverbial fingertips, going “far beyond” simple demographics and exam…

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DeVos ❤️ School Choice, but No Love for Choice in State Plans

Alyson Klein asks, has U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos being “a big cheerleader for school choice,” and the fact that some states have been “adopting tax-credit scholarships, education savings accounts,” and more, “translated into a big bonanza for school choice” in state ESSA plans?…

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Ed Tech Research Guidelines Updated for ESSA

EdWeek Market Brief’s Michele Molnar writes that “research guidelines for ed-tech companies, produced in conjunction with an industry association, have been revised to provide more information about different levels of research” under ESSA and to “get faster answers about ‘what works’ in the K-12 marketplace.”

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School Choice Getting “Short Shrift” in State Plans?

Alyson Klein reports for Education Week that while school choice may be “having a big moment in K-12 policy,” you would “never know it from reading” state ESSA plans. An Education Week review of all state plans reveals “that few are taking advantage of the…

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Arkansas Deploys State School Scoring System

Kaitlyn Rigdon reports for the El Dorado News-Times that the Arkansas Department of Education has released letter grades for the 2016-2017 school year, which are based on the state’s ESSA plan “School Index,” which “is comprised of multiple indicators, including achievement, growth rate, graduation rate,…

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Will Districts Use Evidence to Improve Schools Under ESSA?

Alyson Klein notes in Education Week that ESSA is supposed to be a game-changer when it comes to school improvement, giving states and districts the ability to create their own intervention mechanisms for low-performing schools if they can back their claims up with solid data….

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Washington State Also Deploys School Rating System

Thomas Clouse reports for the Spokesman-Review that Washington state parents “have a new way to examine how schools are doing” via the state ESSA plan’s school rating system, which federal officials have given the nod. State Superintendent Chris Reykdal says “the new system will help…

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State Ed Officials to Four Worst Districts: “Not Good Enough”

“When the New Mexico Public Education Department was handed plans meant to improve the four worst schools in the state,” reports Kate Stringer in The 74, the department sent them all back in March with the same response: “not good enough.” This kind of “aggressive back-and-forth…

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State ESSA Plan vs. State Law in Lone Star State?

According to Houston Public Media, some experts say portions of Texas’ ESSA accountability plan—which was recently approved by the U.S. Department of Education—are “promising,” but there are also concerns. Anne Hyslop notes that Texas “is one of only a few states using a competition to…

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