Teachers and Schools

Below are the most recent news, reports and recommendations around ESSA relating to teachers and schools.

Virginia Department of Education Considers Assessments in Guidance for 2020-21 School Year

Barring a federal waiver of standardized testing requirements as outlined by the Every Student Succeeds Act in the next school year, Virginia officials are preparing plans to ensure that assessments can be given in the spring of 2021. The state’s Standards of Learning (SOL) tests…

Indiana Focused More on Connection Than Attendance

“Attendance is now one of the many facets of K-12 education that has been redefined because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced school buildings to close and most students to transition to online learning,” writes Allie Kirkman. The reality is, argues Kirkman, that no…

Oklahoma Rises to Top 3 in Pre-K Access

According to this new report from the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), Oklahoma now ranks third in the nation on access to pre-K education for 4-year-olds. Perhaps this shouldn’t come as a surprise: “Oklahoma’s commitment to early education is evident in the state’s…

DeVos Focuses on Special Ed Teachers in Voucher Push

“After years of frustration in her attempts to expand education choice, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is picking up steam,” writes Andrew Ujifusa for Education Week. “Fresh evidence that DeVos is continuing her push to prioritize choice with federal funds can be found in…

State Lawmakers Push for Changes to Kentucky’s School Rating System

Kentucky lawmakers passed a bill last week that would change the state’s brand-new accountability rating system. “If signed by the governor, the measure would scrap the state’s 1-year-old 5-star rating system, and replace it with a color-coded speedometer.” A spokesperson for the Kentucky Department of Education noted…

Secretary DeVos Proposes New Funding Priorities for Teachers’ Professional Development

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos introduced a proposal last week that would empower teachers “through stipends or vouchers, to select and access professional development courses and opportunities that are relevant to their personal needs or career goals instead of having one-size-fits all programming dictated…

Using Regression-Adjusted Graduation Rates to Benchmark Demographically Similar Schools

In EducationNext, Erica Blom and Theresa Anderson make a case for the use of regression-adjusted graduation rates to compare schools “against other schools with similar demographics, allowing for fairer comparisons.” This, they argue, “allows the performance of entire schools to be meaningfully compared without having…

What COVID-19 Means for School Closures, Testing, and Accountability Efforts

As Jim Cowen writes for Forbes, the wave of school closures has rightly sparked a discussion about the “issues of providing meals and other educational services to America’s school children.” In addition, these closures increase the likelihood that “many students will be out of school…

How States and Districts Can Use ESSA to Advance STEAM Education

The Education Commission of the States released an outline providing states and districts with a broad overview of how they can leverage funds from ESSA and Perkins V to support their STEAM education efforts. According to the report, ESSA section 4107 3-c-vi permits local education…

States Should Support and Address Low-Performing Schools Before They Hit Rock Bottom

ESSA was signed into law four years ago, “giving states more flexibility in their approaches to accountability,” yet for the lowest-performing schools, “policy leaders still operate from an old and harmful paradigm,” according to Susan F. Lusi in a piece published by The 74. Instead…

Legislation to Alter Kentucky’s School Accountability System Advances Out of Committee

State lawmakers in Kentucky advanced a bill that “would alter Kentucky’s school accountability system” out of the Senate Education Committee. The legislation would “gauge student achievement on annual K-PREP results, called ‘status,’ and improvement over time, called ‘change.’” The amended version of the bill gives…

Trump Administration’s Budget Proposal Comes Under Fire by Education Unions

President Trump’s 2021 budget proposal is receiving harsh criticism from education unions, including the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers. While it is “more than likely to be rejected by Congress,” the proposed budget seeks a number of cuts and changes in…

New York School District Waiting for ESSA Designation

The Greater Johnstown School District in New York is waiting on its ESSA designation, which is expected soon. Nicole Panton—the district’s director of curriculum and professional development— presented an overview of the educational accountability system to the Board of Education, saying “the Johnstown school system…

Idaho’s State Board of Educators Rethinks Accountability Goals

According to Debbie Critchfield, the Idaho State Board of Education is considering changes to the state’s accountability system to not only ensure performance metrics are complying with federal requirements under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), but actually helping target, address, and improve student performance…

Indiana’s New Online Data Portal Takes User-Friendly Approach to Reporting School Data

The Indiana Department of Education’s new data portal, INview “provides both general information about the state’s approximately 1,900 K-12 schools, along with data visualizations on performance metrics like attendance and academic achievement.” The tool was intentionally designed to present school data in a user-friendly manner…

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…

Pittsburg Schools On Alert as Chronic Absenteeism Rates Set to Increase this Year

According to data presented to the Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) board last week, “chronic absenteeism was set to increase by nearly 3%,” raising concerns among district officials. According to Ted Dwyer, chief of data, research, assessment and accountability for PPS, chronically absent students—those who miss…

Heartland Institute Outlines Proposal for Child Safety Accounts

A new report by the Heartland Institute underscores the myriad school safety risks facing students today, proposing for “states to create a Child Safety Account (CSA) program, which would allow parents to immediately have their child moved to a safe school…as soon as parents think…

New Review Shows Louisiana Excels in Some Areas, Lags Behind in Others

“Louisiana is informing parents about school performance better than other states are,” according to the results of a review by the Alliance for Excellent Education. These results highlight how local schools are responding since the Every Student Succeeds Act was enacted. However, there remain a…

While Steady Overall, High School Graduation Rates Decrease Among Idaho Hispanics

According to the State Department of Education, “Idaho’s high school graduation rate remained flat in 2019, inching up a fraction of a percentage point.” However, “new data reveals the graduation rates for Hispanic students and students with disabilities dropped significantly.” While the overall graduation rate…

Questions Arise About Efficacy of Surveys to Assess School Quality

According to this piece in The 74, school climate and student engagement surveys are becoming more popular in helping learn more about “important contributors to student success”—including “students’ sense of belonging at school and their sense of themselves as learners…bullying among students, relationships with teachers…

Under ESSA Directive, School Improvement Initiatives Help Transform Texas School

As Beth Hawkins reports, one elementary school in Fort Worth, Texas, has gone from being “one of five schools that struggled with years of rock-bottom performance” to one that has attracted national attention for a number of closely watched school improvement initiatives that are credited…

Indiana Department of Education Releases School Accountability Ratings

Based on federal school accountability ratings released by the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) last week, “more than 56% of public state high schools and 53% of elementary and middle schools” in Indiana “received a rating of Meets Expectations or Exceeds Expectations.” The U.S. Department…

Massachusetts Education Officials Prioritize Funding for After-School Programming

Educators in Massachusetts are increasing their commitment to supporting after-school care and services, according to a letter from Ardith Wieworka of the Massachusetts Afterschool Partnership published in the Boston Globe. Under the state’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), local school superintendents have “the ability to…

Under ESSA, Technology is Transforming Educational Experiences and Outcomes

An article in JD Supra highlights the myriad ways in which states are leveraging technology to transform the classroom experience. Under the Every Student Succeeds Act, “states are implementing various programs that use education technology to boost traditional classroom learning.” This includes blended learning—something “ESSA…