Accountability

Below are the most recent news, reports, and recommendations relating to the ESSA and accountability.

WA: New Report Details Statewide Enrollment Trends During Pandemic

New analysis from CRPE shows declines in statewide enrollment at public schools in Washington state amid the pandemic, though charter schools saw a sharp 35% increase. The report explores enrollment trends for schools in the state, which were the first in the nation to close…

MT: State Superintendent Announces Record Low Dropout, Looks Ahead to Rising Graduation Rates

Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen announced a statewide dropout rate of less than 2%, a historic low and a possible indicator of coming increases to the graduation rate. Arntzen credited persistent actions taken under the state’s ESSA plan to increase graduation rates, engage…

Cardon’s Perspective as Former English Learner Could Drive Direction at Education Department

If confirmed, President JoeBiden’s pick for education secretary, Connecticut Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona, would bring a perspective previously unseen in the role – that of a student whose first language was Spanish and who learned English primarily at school. As a former English learner, writes…

TN: Three Bills in Special Legislative Session to Target Schools, COVID Learning Loss

Tennessee lawmakers are considering three education bills in a special legislative session this week to focus on addressing learning loss, particularly declines in literacy and math proficiency, amid the pandemic. The bills would temporarily suspend accountability requirements defined in the state’s ESSA plan, require interventions…

ID: Statewide Graduation Rate Inches Upward Amid Pandemic; Gains Aren’t Felt by All Students

Despite a global pandemic that forced schools closed in the final months of the academic year, Idaho schools saw an increase in the statewide graduation rate in 2020, marking the first time the rate surpassed 82%. Though officials celebrated the gains, educators and advocates in…

Reports Detail Recession’s Long-term Impact on Education Funding, Warns of Repeating Mistakes

Two reports released recently by the Education Law Center seek to provide further context for elected officials and policymakers about the dire stakes at hand as school districts brace for budget cuts. The first report provides an analysis of state and local education funding following…

WY: Wyoming Joins Other States in Pausing Accountability Requirements Amid COVID, Closures

Wyoming education officials officially announced their intent to request waivers of federal accountability requirements as outlined by ESSA amid the continued disruption of the pandemic. Wyoming joins a number of states making similar announcements while also indicating a desire or intent to administer statewide annual…

Tennessee Officials to Use Federal Education, COVID Funds for Statewide Literacy Initiative

Tennessee will use flexibility granted by ESSA to use federal education funds, as well as a portion of the state’s COVID-19 recovery funds, to bolster resources and support aimed at improving literacy outcomes for Tennessee students. Noting that just above a third of third-graders in…

Rep. Bobby Scott Discusses Assessments, ESSA in Education Interview

In an interview with Education Week’s Andrew Ujifusa, Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., chairman of the House education committee, reiterated his firm support for administering annual state assessments amid the pandemic. “If we don’t know how far behind these students are, we won’t know how much…

State Grants Aim to Improve Rural Student Access to STEM/STEAM Programs

Georgia education officials announced that nearly $250,000 is being awarded to seven rural school districts to increase access to STEM and STEAM education programs. “Through this grant program and others,” State Superintendent Richard Woods said, “we’re working to ensure schools in rural Georgia have the…

Advocate Urges Schools and Districts to Prioritize Taking Attendance During Pandemic

Schools should be encouraged by state education agencies to take daily attendance during online and hybrid learning, says Attendance Works Executive Director Hedy Chang in a recent interview with FutureEd’s Phyllis Jordan. The pair discussed a new Attendance Works report focused on state attendance policies…

ESSA’s Long-Touted Flexibility Could Be Harming Equity Efforts, Says Report

A report released by the Alliance for Excellent Education found troubling signs in its analysis of 10 state accountability plans as required by the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015. The findings suggest that wide ranging flexibility built into the law may be undermining efforts…

Hawaii Education Officials Find Bright Spot in Otherwise Lean School Report Card

Hawaii is the latest state to release a truncated school report card amid a lack of assessment data in every state due to the cancellation of spring summative exams earlier this year. Without the data from state tests, report cards have been unable to include…

Special Education Advocates Hopeful for Biden Administration

As the first presidential candidate in decades to include full funding of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as a campaign goal, President-elect Joe Biden has promised to make an effort to deliver billions of dollars of additional federal funding to special education programs…

California Mental Health Commission Recommends Schools Become “Wellness Centers”

A new set of recommendations from the California Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission says schools in the state should become community-based “wellness centers” that coordinate mental and other health services through new partnerships with local and regional nonprofit providers. The commission sites a…

D.C. Makes Gains in Graduation Rate Despite Pandemic

New graduation data announced by Mayor Muriel Bowser last week showed impressive gains in the number of students who successfully graduated in the 2019-20 school year, despite the abrupt closing of schools in the spring at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The district saw…

New Research Shows Weaknesses in State School Improvement Networks

A new study from the Center for Public Research and Leadership at Columbia University found that state school improvement networks frequently struggle to “scale up” successful policies or programs from the school to district or state levels. As outlined by ESSA, networks of schools established…

Improving School Mental Health and Wellness Efforts Through Arts Education

Arts education can be leveraged by schools to deepen mental health and wellness resources for students, says the Education Commission of the States, which in a time of great disruption in education, should include trauma-informed approaches to instruction and student and family outreach. State, district,…

New Parent Dashboard Provides New York Parents with Access to School, District Details

New York education officials are gathering feedback on a new parent data dashboard that provides access to detailed information on schools and districts. The dashboard was built to comply with the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 and includes data on student enrollment and ethnicity,…

South Carolina’s Report Card, Like Other States, Lean on Information in 2020

South Carolina’s latest school report card, like other states, is leaner on information than in typical years due to the cancellation of standardized testing in the spring, but state officials say “key information about graduation rates, bullying and student safety, teacher and administrator salaries and…

Illinois Report Card Celebrated by Peoria Public Schools Superintendent

A newly released Illinois School Report Card depicted impressive growth for one district’s programs in particular for the 2019-2020 school year. Peoria Public Schools Superintendent Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat took to the Journal Star to celebrate the fact that, prior to the pandemic, the district saw its…

Nine West Virginia School Districts Flagged By State For Support

The West Virginia Department of Education has marked nine school districts as needing assistance in the areas of finance, special education, and Pre-K readiness after an accountability report was completed ahead of a recent Board of Education meeting. State education officials noted that the nine…

Kentucky Thinktank Blasts State Education Department’s Release of Poor Quality School Spending Data

In a new report, the Bluegrass Institute harshly criticizes the quality of school spending data recently released by Kentucky education officials as a 2018-19 requirement of the Every Student Succeeds Act. The report states that Kentucky’s data is too general to be useful, as the…

The Career and Legacy of Senator Lamar Alexander

In this in-depth profile, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s Chester E Finn, Jr. captures the life and service of three-term, retiring Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. Detailing his time as the Chairman of the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, or HELP, Committee, Finn states…

Five Years After ESSA Was Signed, COVID-19 Applies Pressure Test to the Law

Five years after it was signed into law, the Every Student Succeeds Act is being challenged by the unanticipated disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, reports Andrew Ujifusa for Education Week. At greatest risk, he says, are the assessment and accountability systems required of individual states;…