Thoughts from the Field

Below are the most recent reports, recommendations, and news from the field around a variety of ESSA topics.

School Improvement = State Improvement

Dale Chu writes in Governing that ESSA gives state education leaders—particularly governors and chiefs—a unique opportunity to provide all students with an excellent education. At the “heart of this opportunity” are state plans, which “outline how each state will ensure educational excellence and equity.” Chu…

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Arizona Needs Improvement on School Improvement

Brenna Bailey reports for the Arizona Daily Star that, while Arizona has long focused on local control of schools, the Collaborative’s Promise to Practice report “says the state’s approach has backfired when it comes to improving its lowest performing schools.” Peer reviewers found that Arizona’s…

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D.C. Releases New School Report Card

Last week, State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) released the District of Columbia’s newest report card and School Transparency and Reporting (STAR) Framework, the Washington Post reports. “District education officials developed the rating system” to comply with ESSA, which “mandated that states and the District create…

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New Mexico Releases First Educator Scorecards

The Ruidoso News reports that the New Mexico Public Education Department has “released the first-ever official Educator Preparation Program Scorecards,” which were developed as part of the state’s ESSA plan. The state worked “with teacher-leaders from across the state, leaders of the state’s educator preparation…

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Time To Act On Data, Improving Student Outcomes

Last week, DQC released its annual landscape analysis, Time to Act 2018, which examined state efforts to leverage data to improve student outcomes, and also takes a look at future opportunities to do so under ESSA. DQC’s analysis found that state leaders responded to the opportunities under…

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Georgia Ed Department Releases Targeted Schools List

According to All On Georgia, last week, the Peach State’s Education Department released the first list of Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI) schools under ESSA. These schools fall into one of two categories: 1. those with “at least one subgroup performing in the lowest 5%…

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New Mexico “Earns Praise” for School Improvement Plan

Robert Nott reports for the Santa Fe New Mexican about how the state was given “high marks” for its school improvement plan under ESSA as part of the Collaborative’s Promise to Practice peer review project and report. Peer reviewers found a lot to like with…

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ESSA & Fostering Arts Education

In the latest installment of Education Week’s “Answering Your ESSA Questions” series, an anonymous reader asks: “How do ESSA plans handle arts education?” Klein says that, under ESSA, states “had to choose at least one indicator of school quality or student success to consider alongside…

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Cowen & Porter Shine a Light on Other States’ School Improvement Progress

In The 74, the Collaborative’s Jim Cowen and Education First’s William Porter explore how states are approaching school improvement. While there is a lack of publicly available information on state school improvement plans, which is why only 17 states were included in our recent Check…

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New Mexico “Leading the Way” Under ESSA

All4Ed’s Lindsey Dworkin writes about how New Mexico is taking full advantage of the flexibility afforded by ESSA and is “leading the way” for other states. New Mexico was one of the first states “to identify schools for comprehensive support,” and is leveraging “every possible…

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States Prioritize School Leadership

Education Dive’s Linda Jacobson highlights a recent report from the Education Commission of the States.  The report discusses how ESSA’s “inclusion of new funding sources for states to invest in leadership, coupled with decades of research identifying the important roles leaders play in student success,…

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IL Officials, Experts Take Different Views of School Improvement 

In Chalkbeat Chicago, Yana Kunichoff shares that even as state education officials “publicly lauded their new school rating system” last week, the Promise to Practice peer reviewers “criticized Illinois’ approach as too hands-off.” While the state “developed a clear rating system as the federal government…

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TN’s School Improvement Plan Gets High Marks

Jason Gonzales also reports on Promise to Practice’s state findings, noting that Tennessee “is listed as a leader in its plan for struggling schools.” Tennessee received “strong overall marks” in the report, which “also gives the state the highest marks in one area of its plan.”…

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Promise to Practice

In The 74, Carolyn Phenicie provides an overview of Promise to Practice—the latest iteration of the Collaborative for Student Success’ Check State Plans initiative, done in partnership with HCM Strategists. ”Now that all state plans to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act have been approved,…

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“Mixed Reviews” for Idaho School Improvement Efforts

Looking at Idaho’s “plans for improving low-performing schools,” Clark Corbin reports that Promise to Practice peer reviewers praised the state “for using education coaches to help drive school improvement.” However, peer reviewers also “raised questions about whether Idaho is doing enough to direct school improvement…

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Colorado Takes “Hands-Off” Approach to School Improvement

Erica Meltzer reports for Chalkbeat Colorado about the Promise to Practice review of Colorado’s ESSA-based school improvement plans. She write about how the state “largely leaves it up to school districts to choose their approach—and it doesn’t levy the same consequences on these schools as…

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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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NM Proposes Tougher Accountability Rules

According to Shelby Perea in the Albuquerque Journal, in the final weeks of Governor Susana Martinez’ tenure, the state Public Education Department is proposing a number of rule changes, including for school accountability and interventions. If approved, the potential regulatory shift “would put parts of…

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New Social-Emotional Learning Guide

Education Dive’s Lucy Hood reports on the importance of social-emotional learning (SEL) and highlights a new guide from the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL). The guide, “provides educators with assessment tools for gauging social emotional learning (SEL) as well as guidelines for…

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SC Schools to Get Report Cards for 1st Time in Four Years

Ariel Gilreath reports for the Greenville Journal that for “anyone familiar with South Carolina’s annual school and district report cards, this year’s version (to be released this week) will not only look completely different, but will also highlight new data than in previous years.” The…

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The “Nudging” Approach to Fighting Chronic Absenteeism

“As many as 8 million U.S. public school students struggle academically simply because they miss too much school,” Phyllis W. Jordan writes in Education Next. “Recognizing this, 36 states and the District of Columbia have begun holding schools accountable for chronic student absenteeism” under ESSA….

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The Importance of Measuring Subgroups Under ESSA

All4Ed’s Anne Hyslop responds to a recent piece by Mike Petrilli about the Alliance’s analysis of ESSA accountability plans, which identified a dozen states that fail to ensure subgroups are “universally included in school ratings.” While Petrilli argued that “Including subgroups in school ratings doesn’t…

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Are States Waiting Too Long to Intervene with Struggling Schools?

Jayme Kennedy takes a look at a recent report by the National Center for Learning Disabilities, which found that, under their ESSA accountability plans, “29 states don’t report under-performing schools until three years of low performance are recorded.” Additionally, “those same states don’t ask for assistance or…

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New York Helping Rural Schools Via ESSA

Tom Dinki writes for the Olean Times Herald about the challenges facing rural schools in New York State, and how the state’s ESSA plan puts aside “$1.6 billion in federal aid to help rural districts increase teacher training and courses in STEM (science, technology, engineering…

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ESSA & Tracking College-and-Career Readiness

Alyson Klein answers more questions as part of Education Week’s “Answering Your ESSA Questions” series. This week, Harvard University graduate student Alex Sabin asks: “An ESSA accountability system can include a school success ‘measure’ outside of test scores such as college-and-career readiness. However, what exactly…

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