Thoughts from the Field

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

Hunt Institute Unveils Interactive Worksheet for State Leaders

The Hunt Institute published its “Policymaker’s Guide to Understanding Your State’s ESSA Plan & Reviews,” which is “intended to help state-level policymakers and other stakeholders begin to dive into the details of their state ESSA plans and provide a place to note thoughts, concerns, and…

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NGA’s Parker Shares Solutions for State ESSA Implementation

Stephen Parker, who leads the Education and Workforce Committee at the National Governor’s Association, shared a list of solutions for state leaders as they implement their ESSA plans, in a new post on the Fordham Institute’s Flypaper blog. Parker writes, “Approved state plans should be…

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Achieve Digs in On ESSA Plans

Achieve has released three briefs examining different aspects of state ESSA plans. The briefs take a deep dive on state graduation rate goals, state academic achievement goals, and how states include measures of 9th grade performance.

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States Using ESSA, Title II to Improve Teaching?

Stephenie Johnson, associate campaign director for K-12 Education Policy at the Center for American Progress, has reviewed all state ESSA plans “searching specifically for state-led and state-supported programs that will be funded, at least in part, through Title II, Part A of ESSA—the section of…

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What About Plans’ Promise for Improving Schools?

Center for American Progress Senior Policy Analyst for K-12 Education Samantha Batel writes that, while independent reviews have largely found state ESSA plans to be “unambitious or unfinished” (such as Check State Plans), one policy (which appears in half of ESSA plans) “could have teeth…

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NCLB + ESSA = State—But Not Local—Control

American Enterprise Institute’s Nat Malkus explains that the combined impact of NCLB and ESSA will be that, when it comes to education policy, the “reins” will be “firmly in state hands.” As a result, “many will have to adjust to these state differences” and undertake…

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New America Study Looks at Illinois English-Learner Data

Recently, New America released a report regarding Illinois’ ESSA plan and how it will impact and improve how the state tracks and uses data regarding its fast-growing population of English learners. Home to the fifth-largest population of K–12 English learners in the country, New America…

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Oklahoman Editorial Board Cites Check State Plans in OK ESSA Plan Critique

The editorial board of The Oklahoman has something to say about the Collaborative for Student Success and Bellwether Education Partners’ CheckStatePlans.org review of Oklahoma’s ESSA plan. Based in part on this review, the board concludes: “School grades serve an important public function and should reflect…

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Check State Plans on Ohio’s ESSA Plan

Ashton Marra reports that, even as Ohio education officials await feedback from the federal Department of Education on the state’s ESSA accountability plan, the CheckStatePlans.org review gives the plan “high marks.”

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Check State Plans Reveals States’ Failure to Seize ESSA Opportunity

Washington Post Columnist Jay Mathews writes that, in December, the “Collaborative for Student Success, in partnership with Bellwether Education Partners, reported on state efforts to install creative programs to boost achievement, as encouraged by” ESSA. However, these “efforts are failing miserably, according to 45 experts…

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Ed Trust: Equity Advocates Still Have Work to Do

In a new brief by The Education Trust, plans to improve outcomes for low-income students and students of color are “not encouraging.” The report recommends that “civil rights advocates keep a watchful eye on ESSA performance data to show if the new state accountability systems…

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Seven More States Need Specifics

The Dept. of Education sent letters to Alabama, Alaska, Kansas, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming enumerating federal feedback on their ESSA plans.

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State ESSA Plan Receives Good Reviews from Two Outlets

The Union Bulletin’s editorial board found two recent reviews of the state’s ESSA plan “encouraging.” The Thomas B. Fordham Institute, found, “Washington’s new system for how to evaluate schools is one of the best in the nation.” Additionally, Check State Plans found that, “Washington has…

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Gov. Susana Martinez “So Proud” of ESSA Plan Review

Citing New Mexico’s peer review results from the first round of CheckStatePlans.org, Gov. Susana Martinez concluded that she, “will not stop fighting for reforms that will prepare our students for the future.”

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What Common Mistakes Are Peer Reviewers Seeing in State Plans?

The latest edition of the Collaborative for Student Success’ blog series highlighting CheckStatePlans.org peer reviewers’ thoughts on what they’ve seen, what they’ve been looking for, and what they wanted to see in second-round ESSA plans asks three experts—Doug Mesecar of The Lexington Institute, Ryan Reyna…

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ExcelinEd Releases State Landscape

ExcelinEd has looked at ESSA plans for all 50 states and the District of Columbia and released its landscape analysis. Dr. Christy Hovanetz, who authored the analysis, said, “It’s encouraging that in the majority of states, schools will earn summative ratings that are easily understandable…

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Alexander Furious Over Dept. of Ed State Plan Reviews

Politico reports that Sen. Lamar Alexander, the Republican Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, was “furious” that a top aide to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was “circumventing” ESSA, contending the federal agency was “out of bounds” in challenging state officials on issues such as…

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Reviewers Weigh In: What Parents Should be Watching

In anticipation of the release of the second round of independent peer review results, we asked peer reviewers to share their thoughts on different aspects of state ESSA plans. In the first blog, which appeared on The 74, the Collaborative asked five peer reviews about…

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Fordham Rates the Ratings, Round II

In July, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute reviewed the first 17 state ESSA plans submitted to the U.S. Department of Education. This week, they’re back at it, releasing a new report “with an expanded analysis that adds the other thirty-four plans,” which allows them to…

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Civil Rights Advocates Raise Alarm about Kansas ESSA Plan

According to civil rights activists, Kansas’ ESSA plan “would fail to promote achievement for thousands of students the law was meant to protect.” State education officials disagree, claiming there are “good reasons” for their strategy, which they say is “designed to ensure that Kansas schools…

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Civil Rights Groups to DeVos: Florida Plan is Terrible and Must Go

“Several civil rights and education advocacy groups have a simple message for Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos,” reports Education Week’s Andrew Ujifusa. “Just say no to Florida’s Every Student Succeeds Act plan.” In a letter sent to Secretary DeVos, more than a dozen civil rights…

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Inside the Minds of the Peer Reviewers

This week, the Collaborative and the Bellwether Education Partners team brought together 46 peer reviewers to look at the 34 state ESSA plans submitted to the Dept. of Education in September. While the reviews aren’t ready for prime time just yet, the Collaborative’s Ashley Inman provides a…

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New Online Tracking Tool

Achieve released a new online tracking tool that “summarizes states’ long term goals for student achievement and graduation rates, along with the accountability indicators and weighting included in states’ plans submitted under ESSA.” The tracker allows users to view accountability indicators in the state’s plan and compare…

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Educators Weigh in on Professional Learning

Educators for High Standards identifies the key components of high-quality, effective professional learning that are laid out in ESSA, and shares how schools and districts can provide educators with the opportunities they need, want, and deserve. In partnership with Learning Forward and Teach Plus,  Educators…

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Ed Week Examines Arizona’s ESSA Plan

An Education Week blog takes a look at Arizona’s ESSA plan, and how civil rights advocates are concerned how it will impact transient students. The plan, which has already been approved by the U.S. Department of Education, “attaches different weights to students test scores, depending…

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