Federal Activities

Below are the most recent news, reports, and recommendations relating to the federal government’s activities around ESSA.

Senators Urge DOE to Expand Planned Analysis of Federal Education Spending

In a letter to U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, several members of the U.S. Senate urged the Department of Education to expand an analysis of federal K-12 education spending to “include dual and concurrent enrollment programs and early college high schools.” The group of lawmakers…

Ed-Flex Program Provides Four States with Greater Flexibility to Implement Education Reforms

As Linda Jacobson reports for Education Dive, four states—Massachusetts, North Carolina, Texas, and Vermont—have been approved for the Education Flexibility Program, or Ed-Flex. “The program is intended to give states with ‘strong accountability safeguards’ the freedom to implement initiatives or reforms that might conflict with…

Senator Lamar Alexander’s Take on Impeachment Reflects His Approach to ESSA

An Education Week blog post draws parallels between Senator Lamar Alexander’s “handling of the impeachment inquiry and his recent approach to education policy,” including as a key architect of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). During the former, the Senator struck a middle ground—arguing that…

Report Card on Iowa Schools Shows Improvement Over Last Year

A school report card released by the Iowa Department of Education shows schools statewide are improving compared to last year. The online tool was designed to meet the requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act and also includes “components of a state report card that…

Proposed Study Could Have Significant Impact on Educational Equity—One Way or Another

Late last year, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) “made an under-the-radar announcement that it was seeking comments on a new study of over $30 billion in federal education spending,” according to a recent article in Forbes. While it could “provide valuable information for researchers, advocates, and…

DOE Announces New Rule Regarding Religious Liberty, School Prayer Guidance

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced several new steps “to protect religious liberty and ensure the Department is acting in accordance with the first amendment, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). The proposed new rule would address “five…

A Shift on School Accountability Could Be an Issue to Watch in 2020

Under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), states have been given “an opportunity to make some of their own choices about how to hold teachers and schools accountable for performance.” With many of the new plans just starting to take effect, the future of these varying…

Senator Lamar Alexander Marks Four-Year Anniversary of Every Student Succeeds Act Becoming Law

On the fourth anniversary of the Every Student Succeeds Act becoming law, U.S. Senate Education Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander released a statement, saying (in part): “Under ESSA, every state plan for spending federal dollars has now been approved by the U.S. Department of Education. More…

ESSA Anniversary Event Highlights Challenges, Opportunities of Law

To mark the four-year anniversary of ESSA becoming law, the Collaborative for Student Success and Education Week convened a summit in Washington, D.C., on December 10, with the law’s congressional co-authors, policymakers, education experts, and other stakeholders to review the marquee federal education law’s implementation and identify…

On Four-Year Anniversary, Education Officials Tell Congress ESSA is Working

As reported in Education Week, in a letter to Congress, “a group of state and local education officials, teachers’ unions, and others” report the significant progress they are making under the Every Student Succeeds Act,” noting that the law “could lead to significant advances in…

For Better or Worse, ESSA Puts Education Policy in the Hands of the States

The Every Student Succeeds Act still has its proponents and critics, but one thing they agree on is that the law has been successful in “giving states a greater hand in overseeing schools.” For some, however, concerns remain over “how states are measuring the success…

One Law, Many Viewpoints: How ESSA is Viewed Four Years Into Its Implementation

When the Every Student Succeeds Act was passed into law on December 10, 2015, President Barack Obama called it a “Christmas Miracle.” While “public schools are still in the process of formally adjusting,” to the law and some critics continue to raise concerns over its…

School Climate, Student Engagement Emerge as Factors to Measure Accountability

To comply with the Every Student Succeeds Act’s requirement for “states to include non-academic factors in judging schools’ performance,” three-quarters of the states “added student absenteeism to their accountability systems.” However, as a new report from FutureEd details, some states are also using annual surveys…

Four Ways Lawmakers Can Strengthen ESSA When They Reauthorize It

The Every Student Succeeds Act will need to be reauthorized after the 2020-2021 school year and, as Connor P. Williams outlines, this is a prime opportunity for federal lawmakers to strengthen the law. Among his recommendations, Williams suggests lawmakers “consider deeper centralization of public education,”…

Georgia DOE Releases New List of Schools Receiving Special Academic Support

According to the updated list of schools receiving special academic support released by the Georgia Department of Education, “47 Georgia schools rolled off the list” this year. As mandated by the Every Student Succeed Act, Georgia—like other states—keeps “track of high poverty schools or at-risk…

Proposed Changes to Civil Rights Data Collection Draws Support and Opposition

Proposed changes by the Department of Education (DOE) to the “massive trove of civil rights data” the agency collects from every public school in the country are being lauded by “advocates concerned about anti-Semitism in schools” while also prompting “concern from other civil rights groups…

ESSA & DeVos’ First 1,000 Days

In The 74, Carolyn Phenicie takes a look at the first thousand days of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ tenure, noting that among her detractors, her department’s “weak implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act” is among “her most egregious actions.” However, to her supporters, “weakening…

Education Department Criticizes States Again for Their ESSA Approach

School spending by the states is the latest issue to garner criticism from the U.S. Department of Education, as Andrew Ujifusa writes for Education Week. Information on school spending is mandated under ESSA and, so far, 17 states have reported it, with a lot more…

Montana Gets $50-Million Federal Literacy Grant

According to the Sydney Herald, Montana has received a five-year, $50 million literacy grant from the U.S. Department of Education as part of the Striving Readers Comprehensive State Development Program. The grant has several “outcome expectations,” including increasing “the percentage of all participating disadvantaged student…

DeVos Announces New Grant Awards to Help “Rethink Education”

Last week, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced “$123 million in new grant awards to 41 school districts, nonprofit organizations and state educational agencies across the United States as part of the Education Innovation and Research (EIR) program.” EIR grants—which are authorized under the…

DOE Releases Parent Report Card Guide

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education announced the release of “important information on how local education leaders can make sure parents and caregivers have accurate and accessible information on how schools are performing in their state.” This new guide, entitled Opportunities and Responsibilities for State…

Secretary DeVos Talks ESSA at Alaska Forum

According to KUAC, last week, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was in Alaska, where she discussed ESSA (among other topics) with state education stakeholders. Hosted by the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce, the round-table discussion focused on workforce development. At the event, participants “talked about the…

Feds Deploy Stats Agency to Improve Civil Rights Information

“Federal civil rights data on schools can be messy, incomplete, and at times difficult to believe. But the data are also critical to understanding how different groups of students experience and achieve in school,” writes Sarah D. Sparks. Last week, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy…

2020 Democrats Push Title I Funding

In the LA School Report, Carolyn Phenicie takes a look at how many candidates in the 2020 Democratic presidential field are looking to increase spending on Title I, the “anchor for some of the biggest education policy changes in the past two decades, No Child…

Details on Georgia and North Carolina Innovative Assessment Pilots

As we’ve reported previously, Georgia and North Carolina have been approved by the U.S. Department of Education to participate in ESSA’s Innovative Assessment Pilot program. Details of these plans are as follows (according to AllOnGeorgia): Georgia “will pilot two different innovative assessments: one based on…