Thoughts from the Field

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

Indiana Falling Short When It Comes to Foster Students?

According to The 74, this spring, when Indiana released a “bleak report” regarding educational outcomes for students in foster care, it “broke new ground in making public the state’s troubling statistics.” And the “same Indiana law that called for the first-ever release of the distressing…

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Trump Admin “Falling Short” on ESSA Implementation

In Education Week, Megan Duff and Priscilla Wohlstetter provide an overview of a recent study conducted by them and their colleagues regarding the ESSA planning process, which concludes that the process has “veered off course.” How so? ESSA, contrary to NCLB, reverts much of the…

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Federal Officials Allow New Mexico’s Removal of School Grades

The U.S. Department of Education has approved New Mexico’s changes to its school accountability plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act. Federal approval was necessary for state education officials to move forward with the planned changes. “Following the PED’s initial request from early March, a…

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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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South Bend, Indiana, Transformation Plan Hits ESSA Snag…

According to Ted Booker at the South Bend Tribune, the Indiana city’s “blueprint for turning around five struggling South Bend schools was crafted with the understanding that federal school improvement grant money would be available for five years to help make staffing and curriculum changes.” However, the “five-year…

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Idaho Misses Nearly All ESSA Benchmarks

Clark Corbin reports for Idaho EdNews that the state “ has failed to meet 33 of 34 interim targets for long-term goals outlined in the state’s plan to comply with federal education law.” Despite the plan incorporating a “series of yearly interim targets that incrementally…

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ESSA’s “Missed Opportunities” for Students with Disabilities

In the context of ongoing ESSA implementation, this report from the National Center for Learning Disabilities provides the “first national analysis” of how state plans treat students with disabilities under ESSA. Assessing ESSA: Missed Opportunities for Students with Disabilities examines “the 15 most critical components of…

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Education Week to Host Online ESSA Summit Today

Today from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET, Education Week will host an online summit that will take a “deep dive” into ESSA and give participants “a unique opportunity to directly interact with reporters and experts about implementation of the nation’s marquee K-12 law.” The…

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Morial on Recent NUL ESSA Study

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) “establishes civil rights standards for educating students from historically underserved populations—such as children of color, students with disabilities, and those learning English as a second language” so that they “receive the resources they need,” writes National Urban League (NUL)…

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New Report Highlights Promise of (and Roadblocks to) Personalized Learning Plans

Education Dive’s Linda Jacobson takes a look at a new Harvard University report that recommends implementing individual personalized learning plans for students. According to Jacobson, “the report also comes as the majority of states are either requiring or encouraging districts to develop individualized learning plans…

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CCSSO Reports States Are Making Progress on School Improvement Plans

According to a new report from CCSSO, states are “making progress developing systems that will improve schools for all students, leveraging the flexibility provided under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).” This progress comes “as states are urgently building and initiating systems aimed at ensuring…

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Oregon Not Properly Tracking Struggling Students

According to KTVZ, a recent report from the Oregon Secretary of State finds the state’s education department “only made partial progress on three of the 15 recommendations to improve education for students in online or alternative schools” and “made no progress on the remaining 12.”…

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124 Evidence-Based Afterschool Programs Eligible for ESSA Funds

A new report from the Wallace Foundation looks at afterschool programs in the U.S. that are eligible for funding under ESSA. “The law also encourages—and in some cases requires—that applicants for its various funding streams establish that their programs are backed by strong evidence of…

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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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New Take on Education Equity

Ashley Jochim, senior research analyst at the Center on Reinventing Public Education, notes the growing skills shift students need from traditional academics to non-achievement-based educational outcomes. She explains that ESSA, “implicitly recognizes this shift with its requirement that assessment of a non-academic measure of student…

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Nonprofit Sues Wisconsin Education Agency

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) has filed a suit against the Wisconsin Education Agency to “determine if SPI/DPI are illegally implementing federal law [ESSA], without the proper state authority,” WILL argues that the Wisconsin DPI, along with other states, have to get…

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Texas Letting Districts Rate Themselves

When Texas “rolled out its new accountability system under the Every Student Succeeds Act late last year, local superintendents en masse sent letters home to their students’ parents telling them that the letter grade report cards were flawed, simplistic evaluations of their schools,” writes Daarel…

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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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Digging into District Spending in a Dozen States

Burnette reports that states are beginning to report spending data as required by ESSA, but that this is “one of the most difficult pieces of the law to comply with and has gotten fierce pushback from district officials who complained that breaking out school spending…

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A “Consumer’s Guide” to ESSA Testing

A new National Education Policy Center (NEPC) report from Madhabi Chatterji examines the testing and accountability landscape in the wake of federal approval of state ESSA plans. The report looks at how states should be “alert to any unexpected negative outcomes of testing on students,…

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“Caught in the Middle” in Michigan

Louise Wrege reports for the Herald Palladium that Michigan “now has two versions of statewide school accountability – one from the Michigan Department of Education and the other mandated by the Legislature.” The Michigan Department of Education plan under ESSA “received federal approval for its plan…

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School Improvement and Educational Equity

Collaborative for Student Success Communications Specialist Erika Ross takes readers on a sort of “privilege walk” in blog form to explore the urgent question of equity in today’s educational environment through the prism of ESSA school improvement plans. In doing so, she highlights the findings…

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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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“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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