At-Risk Student Groups

Below are the most recent news, reports, and recommendations on how to use ESSA better serve at-risk student groups.

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…

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…

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…

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…

Inequities in Career and Technical Education Programs Revealed by New Analysis

An analysis of career and technical vocational (CTE) programs in middle and high schools by the Hechinger Report and Associated Press found deep inequities in the populations of students steered into various programs. Across 40 states, Black and Latino students were significantly less likely to…

Missing or Inconsistent Arts Education Revealing Importance to Overall Student Achievement

Nothing in education has been untouched by the coronavirus pandemic, says a growing number of arts educators calling attention to the effects of limited or completely canceled arts classes on student achievement, morale, and wellness. Jamie Kasper, director of the Arts Education Partnership, cited over…

School Suspensions Drive Learning Loss in 28 Districts

A new study from the Civil Rights Project at UCLA describes how middle and high school students in 28 U.S. school districts lost more than a year of learning due to suspension, reports Linda Jacobson for the 74 Million. Under the Every Student Succeeds Act,…

Pandemic Closures and Virtual Learning Complicate Policies on Attendance

This in-depth look at the progression of attendance policies in recent times details how, following the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015, 36 states and the District of Columbia chose to use attendance as non-academic measures of success in their state accountability…

Oregon Updates 2020-21 Guidance with ESSA Equity Considerations

In new guidance released by the Oregon Department of Education, special consideration is given to how schools can best “ensure equity and access for students” who receive services under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and the Americans…

A Reporter’s Investigation into Bureau of Indian Education Schools Finds Accountability Failures

According to coverage by AZ Central and ProPublica’s Alden Woods, the U.S. Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) “failed to comply” with several reporting and accountability requirements outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act. Specifically, Woods says, the BIE is the “only education system in the…

New Report Finds that More Than Half of School Buildings Lack Accessibility

A new report from the Government Accountability Office describes nearly two-thirds of American school buildings as lacking adequate access for students and staff with disabilities.  Additionally, the report found that many districts have delayed projects that are critical for facilities to function, including roofing and…

Kansas Improves Their Data Reporting of Students in Foster Care

Data of students in foster care is expected to become much more transparent in the Sunflower State. Early this month, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly issued an executive order that established “an annual education report card for students in foster care.” The report card will track…

Tracking Attendance Remotely Presents Challenges

Researchers and advocates are calling on districts to implement better attendance tracking systems for the upcoming school year. While they note that though “it wasn’t realistic to expect districts to develop and implement perfect attendance systems immediately after the pandemic hit,” such data will be…

School Bus Rides During a Pandemic: Considerations for States and Districts

Transportation has become a significant thorn in the sides of districts working to craft back-to-school plans for the fall, as officials struggle to identify workable solutions for social distancing, sanitation, and scheduling of fleets of busses. In order to meet guidelines released by the Center…

Think Tank Gives Guidance on how to Measure COVID Slide Learning Loss for EL Students

A new policy brief from the Migration Policy Institute “explores the policy and practical questions for states considering implementing native-language assessments,” which may more effectively measure student knowledge and allow educators to identify gaps in English-language instruction. The brief comes at a time when many…

DOE Launches Grant Program to Help Districts Educate Disadvantaged Students

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education announced a new, $3 million grant program that “gives districts flexibility to combine federal, state and local funding streams to educate disadvantaged students.” The grants are authorized by the Every Student Succeeds Act and are aimed at supporting…

What Does Taking Attendance Mean in the Wake of Coronavirus School Closures?

A recent piece in Education Week highlights the various ways in which different states, districts, and schools are monitoring and tracking attendance in light of nationwide school closures due to the coronavirus. While “the federal Every Student Succeeds Act requires states to report chronic absence…

Chronic Absenteeism Due to Coronavirus Impacts Accountability, Equity in Education

As Phyllis W. Jordan writes for FutureEd, the spread of coronavirus and the need for social distancing is posing serious challenges for states that use chronic absenteeism as a factor for determining school performance and accountability. “Currently, 36 states and the District of Columbia use…

In Light of COVID-19, DOE Considers One-Year Waivers of ESSA Assessment Requirements

The Department of Education (DOE) released guidance last week for schools closing in response to the spread of COVID-19. As more schools implement a minimum two-week closure, DOE says “it will consider providing states with one-year waivers of assessment requirements” mandated under ESSA. Specifically, DOE…

How Implementing Universal Design for Learning Principles can Help English Language Learners

As Katie Novak writes for Language Magazine, Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles can help English language learners have a richer, more transformative experience in the classroom. ESSA “urges states to adopt UDL in a number of areas,” including using UDL principles to design assessments…

Federal Funding Cuts Delayed, Sparing Rural Montana Schools for the Time Being

As reported in the Montana Standard, “cuts to a program that provides funding to rural schools serving students from low-income families will be delayed after mounting criticism.” Previously, the U.S. Department of Education had proposed changes to the Rural Low-Income Schools program’s eligibility requirements. A…

Expanding MSI Helps Provide Equal Support for All Military-Connected Students

Expansion of the Military Student Identifier (MSI) to include children of Reserve and National Guard members in addition to active duty service members will help military families “manage educational obstacles,” according to Collaborative for Student Success Executive Director Jim Cowen. ESSA mandated states and districts…