Thoughts from the Field

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

“Big Changes to Prior Reforms” in New Mexico

Shelby Perea reports for the Albuquerque Journal that new Governor Lujan Grisham is planning “big changes” for “cornerstone education systems” in New Mexico. But before doing so, “the community will get a brief period to weigh in on proposed replacements.” Last week, the state Public…

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Is ESSA Another “Elusive Dream” for Equity?

Writing for Black Press USA, Dr. Elizabeth V. Primas, Program Manager for NNPA ESSA Awareness Campaign, says that, as “education leaders review the individual state plans that have been developed and approved in keeping with the Every Student Succeeds Act, it is obvious that many…

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Idaho Ed Officials Looking for Feedback on Accountability System

According to Idaho EdNews, state Education officials “are asking for the public’s feedback on a series of proposed changes to Idaho’s school accountability plan.” This plan, which is mandated by ESSA, “outlines goals for Idaho’s education system, benchmarks schools should meet and steps to be…

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“Hodge Podge” of State Approaches to Measuring Post-High School Readiness

States are taking a varied approach to measuring post-high school readiness. According to Education Week’s Alyson Klein, “nearly every state is gauging school performance in part by whether students show that they are ready for life after high school.”  She notes thatthe big reason for…

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Michigan School Ratings Being Reviewed by State Attorney General

According to Ron French at Bridge Michigan, the “fight over grading Michigan schools on an A-to-F scale apparently isn’t over yet.” The Michigan Department of Education says it “will hold off on implementing the new accountability system because of concerns that parts of the system…

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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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Educators for High Standards’ Advocacy Project Capstones

Over the course of the 2017-2018 school year, Educators for High Standards’ Teacher Champions have designed and implemented state-based advocacy projects focused around standards, assessments, and their state’s accountability plans under ESSA. Teacher Champions in Arizona, Kentucky, Michigan, and Wyoming engaged with parents, community members, teachers, and…

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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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Indiana Seeks to Change ESSA Plan to Drop Federal School Ratings

Jeanie Lindsay reports that in Indiana, state officials have proposed a change to the state’s ESSA plan, which would stop schools in the state from getting two separate ratings—one state, one federal—next year. “The state department of education’s ESSA change would get rid of the…

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ESSA Report Cards Roll Out “Frustrates School Leaders”

Daarel Burnette II reports for Education Week that the “rollout of states’ redesigned school accountability systems in recent weeks has reignited tensions between policymakers, practitioners, and parents over how best to define and incentivize school success.” Just about every state developed new accountability systems under…

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Montana Delays Release of School Report Cards

Matt Hoffman writes for the Ravalli Republic that Montana “won’t be releasing its new report cards that evaluate school performance in December as previously planned.” Pointing to “guidance from the Department of Education about the Every Student Succeeds Act,” Montana education officials announced they would not…

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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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