California | Understanding ESSA



May 12, 2015

CA: Officials to Adopt ‘Student Growth Model’ in Assessment, Accountability Systems

May 5, 2021

Members of the California State Board seemed finally ready to push the state’s data and accountability system to track student progress over time, an action that has been urged in the state by experts, advocates, and even federal education officials since 2015. Due to the...

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CA: State Reports School Spending Data to Meet ESSA Requirement

February 26, 2021

The Edunomics Lab is also reporting that California has now released school-by-school expenditure data for the 2018-19 school year, leaving Pennsylvania as the final state yet to meet the ESSA reporting requirement. For easy access to each state’s per-pupil spending data, visits the Edunomics Lab’s...

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California Mental Health Commission Recommends Schools Become “Wellness Centers”

December 5, 2020

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...

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How California is Adapting its Accountability System in the Face of Coronavirus

April 26, 2020

Like states across the country, California has had to make some major changes to its accountability system to adapt to the monumental challenges the coronavirus pandemic has posed for educators. This informative Q&A from EdSource helps provide a quick overview on where things currently stand...

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Underqualified Teachers Continue to Teach California’s Highest-Needs Students

November 22, 2019

“The most inexperienced and least qualified teachers continue to teach in schools with the highest-needs students in California,” reports John Fensterwald for EdSource. Under the Every Student Succeeds Act, school districts are required “to write plans on how they would eliminate disparities in staffing in...

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Amid Failure, 3 Counties Offer Hope in Improving Outcomes for California Foster Youth

November 14, 2019

Many school districts in California are “struggling to live up to a now three-year-old federal requirement,” originally set by the Every Student Succeeds Act, to “ensure foster youth have educational stability.” Under ESSA, educational and child welfare agencies are to collaborate “to create transportation plans...

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Providing Stability for Foster Youth in California

August 9, 2019

In this exploration of the educational challenges facing California’s foster youth, Margaret Olmos, Jessica Maxwell, and Vanessa Hernandez note that ESSA “requires that county offices of education and school districts collaborate with county child welfare agencies to ensure educational stability and address protocols for school...

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California Contemplates Fifth-Year Grad Rate

July 8, 2019

According to John Fensterwald at EdSource, California “may soon join most states in creating a 5-year high school graduation rate as a way of crediting districts and high schools that help students who return to school after senior year to earn a diploma.” This new...

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California Funding Increase and Effectiveness

June 2, 2019

In this piece, Aaron Garth Smith takes a look at  California’s latest increase in education funding. Garth Smith argues that the additional funding must be accompanied by more effectiveness, citing that under ESSA, states have to publicly report school-level, per-pupil spending. “Since California has to...

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California School Climate Efforts Showing Results

April 3, 2019

“Like California, 24 states across the country are measuring school climate, including 10 that are providing resources to improve social and emotional learning, according to the Learning Policy Institute,” writes Julie Patel Liss for EdSource. “Amid a growing body of research about the role of...

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California Receives Early Development Grant

March 5, 2019

“Though California has been at odds with the federal government on many fronts,” writes Zaidee Stavely for EdSource, the “state is getting a boost from the Trump administration to lay the groundwork for expanding preschool and child care programs.” California and 44 other states have received...

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California Identifies Lowest-Performing Schools for First Time in Six Years

February 5, 2019

According to LA School Report, California has released the names of its lowest-performing schools for the first time in more than half a decade. The “780 schools are in the bottom 5 percent of public K-12 schools as measured by the state’s new accountability tool,...

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California Dashboard “Redux”

January 22, 2019

The California Department of Education has “spent the past year revising [their] dashboard and released a new version in December, in time to meet the federal Every Student Succeeds Act’s deadline for new state report cards on school performance.”  The decision to revise the California...

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Trump Admin, State Officials “Won’t Help” California Education

July 20, 2018

The San Diego Union-Tribune editorial board writes that, even though the U.S. Department of Education rejected the first two drafts of California’s ESSA plan because they were “viewed as so vague that they made it more difficult—not less—to hold schools accountable,” Secretary DeVos “pronounced herself...

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CA District Leverages ESSA to Help Military Children

July 16, 2018

According to Brennon Dixson at the Santa Clarita Valley Signal, the Castaic Union School District in California is “responding to the challenges and unique circumstances military children face on a daily basis” by putting in place policies “to lessen the children’s impediments to success” through...

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California and Utah Are Approved

July 12, 2018

California and Utah are the latest states to gain federal approval on their state education plans.

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Third Time’s a Charm?

July 3, 2018

EdSource’s David Washburn reports that next week, the California State Board of Education “will likely approve yet another set of revisions to California’s plan to comply with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act—and this time state officials are ‘very optimistic’ that the plan will finally get U.S....

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Feds Still Not Happy With Golden State’s Accountability Plan…

June 12, 2018

According to John Fensterwald at EdSource, the U.S. Department of Education has “raised additional questions about California’s plan for complying with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, further delaying the federal government’s approval of the plan.”

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How Did California and Florida Change Their ESSA Plans to Win Approval?

April 24, 2018

California and Florida have finally resubmitted their ESSA plans to the U.S. Dept. of Education. Education Week’s Alyson Klein explores what exactly was changed by both states in the hopes of winning approval.

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Supporting Migrant Students through ESSA

April 13, 2018

Sacramento’s ABC Channel 10 provides an overview of California’s Migrant Education Program, which is “authorized under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).” The program is designed to “support migrant students by helping reduce...

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California Finally Finalizes Accountability Plan…

April 12, 2018

“Two years, a presidential election and many meetings after the California State Board of Education first started talking about how to satisfy a major federal education law, members finally agreed Thursday to submit a final plan,” writes Joy Resmovits. The vote to submit a final...

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To Compromise or Not to Compromise…That is the Question (In California)

April 8, 2018

“How far to push the federal government?” asks EdSource’s John Fensterwald. Members of the California State Board of Education will answer that question at a special meeting “when they consider proposed compromises” regarding the state’s ESSA, which U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos “will likely approve—if...

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California Education Must Seize Chance to Be Better

March 31, 2018

While it is positive that California “has established college-ready standards and high-quality and aligned assessments” and has “adopted rigorous academic goals,” Faith and Education Coalition Leadership Advisory Council member Yvette Santana still has concerns about the Golden State’s education system. She believes the state’s new education accountability...

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ESSA Plan Delays = Talk, But No Action, for Lowest Performing Schools

March 26, 2018

The 74’s Laura Greanias reports on how there has been “a lot of talk but little action from Los Angeles and California education officials when it comes to supporting the lowest-performing schools.” This is due, at least in part, to the state Board of Education’s...

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Board Vote Postpones Golden State ESSA Plan Revision

March 14, 2018

According to John Fensterwald at EdSource, California could be closing in on a deal to resolve differences with the U.S. Education Department over the state’s ESSA plan. But recently, the California Board of Education put off voting on these measures and “some board members indicated...

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CA should “stay the course” on ESSA plan

March 12, 2018

Learning Policy Institute President Linda Darling-Hammond writes that “mixed messages” from the federal Education Department “are enough to give a state whiplash.” While Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says states missed out on opportunities for “flexibility and innovation” under ESSA, she also hasn’t approved California’s plan, “one of...

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Golden State, feds close to ESSA plan compromise?

March 7, 2018

“After a high-level, face-to-face meeting in Washington and continued negotiations, state officials are expressing confidence” that the U.S. Department of Education will approve California’s ESSA plan, reports John Fensterwald, and in doing so “avert a standoff with U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos over differing interpretations of...

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CA Parents Like New Report Card

February 13, 2018

Education Week’s Daarel Burnette II reports that, despite initial backlash, a newly released poll conducted by the University of Southern California and Public Analysis for California Education finds that Golden State parents “are pretty fond of a redesigned and highly controversial statewide school report card,” which...

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California Officials Digging in Heals on ESSA Plan

January 17, 2018

According to the Orange County Register, despite “significant criticisms last month by the U.S. Department of Education”—not to mention from the Check State Plans peer reviewers—California “will likely make clarifications but no substantial changes” to the state’s ESSA plan.

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California Dreamin’ (Of A Better ESSA Plan)

January 8, 2018

LA School Report’s Mike Szymanski discusses how California’s ESSA plan “received some of the toughest criticism in the nation” from the U.S. Dept. of Education, which “came as no surprise to parents and education advocates.” The article underscores how California’s accountability plan “ranked” at the...

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Federal Education Officials Call Out California ESSA Plan

December 27, 2017

EdSource’s John Fensterwald reports that in a December 21 letter, the U.S. Department of Education “cited substantive flaws in California’s plan detailing how it will improve low-performing schools and use billions of dollars of federal education aid” under ESSA.

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California and Combatting Chronic Absenteeism

December 12, 2017

According to new state data, “more than one in 10 [California] students are chronically absent.” Phyllis Jordan finds this information “troubling because chronic absenteeism is associated with weaker test scores, higher dropout rates and lower chances of finishing college,” and discusses ways the state can...

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State Not Giving Parents Tools Needed to Evaluate Schools

December 12, 2017

LA School Report says the evaluation finds that California’s ESSA lacks two critical data points necessary to evaluate schools. The state received the lowest scores in two of the review’s nine categories: “failing to identify the 5 percent of lowest-performing schools, including high schools...

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State Plan Submissions and Drafts

October 17, 2017

Approved State Plans Alabama: Final Plan Approved (5/7/18) Alaska: Final Plan Approved (5/16/18) Arizona: Final Plan Approved (9/6/17) Arkansas: Final Plan Approved (1/16/18) Colorado: Final Plan Approved (5/7/18) Connecticut: Final Plan Approved (8/15/17) Delaware: Final Plan Approved (8/2/17) District of Columbia: Final Plan Approved (8/28/17) Georgia:...

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CA Adopts State’s ESSA Plan

September 13, 2017

The California State Board of Education adopted the state’s ESSA compliance plan “with, as expected, few changes to the draft published last month.” After a year-and-a-half of work, “most board members said they were satisfied that the document meshes with and advances the state’s larger...

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Teacher Groups Frustrated with CA’s ESSA Plan, According to LA School Report

July 14, 2017

According to LA School Report, teacher groups are “frustrated with California’s ESSA plan’s ‘loose’ definition of ineffective teachers.” Daniel Weisberg, CEO of TNTP, said he was “disappointed,” and that “California’s loose definition of an ineffective teacher is not good for teachers overall.”

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CA Dept. of Ed Releases Final Forum Dates for Public Feedback

June 16, 2017

The California Dept. of Education released the final June forum dates for public feedback on the state’s ESSA plan. Barbara Murchison, who has “collected the ESSA input from throughout the state for the last month,” encouraged leaders to attend meetings because, “We are glad to...

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CA Dept. of Ed Hosts Public Meetings on State’s ESSA Plan

June 13, 2017

The California Dept. of Education will host two public meetings in Los Angeles and two online webinars on the state’s ESSA plan. Meetings will be held in English and Spanish. The public comment period ends on June 30.

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CA Open Public Comment Period for State’s ESSA Plan

June 12, 2017

Comment period opens for California’s education accountability plan. Two meetings will be held this week in Los Angeles, and two more will be held in online webinars open for everyone to have a say on California’s Every Student Succeeds Act State Plan. The public comment period ends...

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CA Dept. of Ed Seeks Public Comment

May 18, 2017

The California State Board of Education opened its public comment portal for feedback related to the state’s ESSA plan. The comment period will open be open from May 22 to June 30, 2017. The California Dept. of Education will also is also partner with various...

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CA Dept. of Ed Debuts “School Accountability Dashboard” Website

March 17, 2017

Under ESSA, the California Dept. of Education debuted a “school accountability dashboard” website. The page is designed to be a “one-stop comparison tool” for its “ability to highlight high-performing schools for best practices and low-performing schools that need the most help.”

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Rev. Sam Casey Asks Californians’ Help on ESSA Plan

February 24, 2017

 Rev. Sam Casey, founder and executive director for Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement (COPE), asked Californians to help shape the state’s ESSA implementation plan. Casey called for stakeholders to provide feedback to “best serve students in our community” as well as to help “community members become informed activists...

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CA Education Advocates Say New ESSA Plan Must Work for All Students

January 13, 2017

Rev. Samuel Casey, executive director of Congregations United in Prophetic Engagement, wrote an opinion piece on the importance of stakeholders providing feedback to the state’s ESSA plan. Casey stated that California’s new plan must “work for all of our students.” He also encouraged everyone to...

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Column Discusses “Multiple Measures” Accountability System

October 17, 2016

A column in the Sacramento Bee argues that California’s new “multiple measures” accountability system, which is being finalized by the state Board of Education, “abolishes the state’s previous system of assigning scores to schools to signal how well their students are improving” and would not...

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CORE Districts Ask Permission to Develop Hybrid System of Accountability

July 31, 2016

California’s CORE districts are asking the State Board of Education for permission to continue to develop their hybrid system of accountability in 2017-18 and beyond. The Board will discuss and possibly vote on the proposal at its next meeting in September. Operating through a nonprofit,...

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80+ Organizations Ask State Board of Education to Focus on Equity

July 8, 2016

In a letter to the State Board of Education, over 80 organizations joined Ed Trust–West in calling for a clear focus on equity in California’s new education accountability system. The groups argued, “When education leaders have timely, relevant data, they can more quickly identify what’s...

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CA Dept. of Education to Host Six Regional Meetings

July 7, 2016

The California Department of Education is holding six regional meetings on the transition to ESSA. The first meeting was held late last week by the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools.

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CA Dept. of Education Holds Stakeholder Meeting

June 29, 2016

The state Dept. of Education held a stakeholder meeting on ESSA at the Los Angeles County Office of Education in Downey.

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State to Face Challenges in Development New Accountability System

June 21, 2016

The 74 Million reports on the challenges the state will likely face when developing its new accountability system as it will have to observe several “oversight demands by ESSA” while also remaining “true to the state’s ethos of de-emphasising test scores and focusing on helping...

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CA Dept. of Education Holds First ESSA Webinar

June 1, 2016

With support from the California Comprehensive Center at WestEd, the state Dept. of Education held its first informational webinar to provide an overview of ESSA and an update on the development of the ESSA State Plan. The next webinar will be held June 4th. Read...

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Local Superintendent Discusses ESSA Implementation

May 17, 2016

Michael McCormick, superintendent of the Val Verde Public School District, spoke at The Atlantic’s annual Education Summit, noting he believes there is a tension in our education system between compliance and innovation as a result of ESSA. He also commented that he believes his state...

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U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Releases State ESSA Primers

May 16, 2016

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s primers include individual state by state accountability system fact sheets, which detail each state’s current accountability system, what could change under ESSA, and what to be asking state leaders. See details about your state here.

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CA State Board Meets to Discuss ESSA Plan

May 11, 2016

The State Board of Education met to discuss the advancement of their ESSA implementation plan. An initial timeline notes the Board of Education will draft a plan August and September, after which they will conduct a 30-day public comment period. Read more here.

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Education Committee Approves Bill Allowing Legislature to Opine on ESSA Implementation

April 26, 2016

The Assembly Education Committee approved a bill by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) to “make the Legislature’s voice known and then to be part of discussions moving forward” surrounding ESSA implementation. What the State Board thinks of the bill will become clearer in two weeks,...

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