Thoughts from the Field

Below are the most recent reports, recommendations, and news from the field around a variety of ESSA topics.

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…

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…

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…

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…

Join Us for an In-Depth Discussion on ESSA

The Collaborative for Student Success is still taking reservations for our special discussion on the Every Student Succeeds Act on the law’s four-year anniversary. If you’re able to make it, this promises to be an informative and interesting event featuring an overview and discussion with…

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…

ESSA as Reform Absent Repair?

ESSA “was designed to remedy the wrongs” of NCLB, Andrew Saultz, Jack Schneider, and Karalyn McGovern write in the Phi Delta Kappan. But the law has failed to live up to its promise. The trio argue that this is the result of the U.S. Department…

Kentucky Law Puts Federal Funding at Risk

“Kentucky education officials had to scramble after learning a new state law ran afoul of federal education law, putting funding in jeopardy,” writes Olivia Krauth for the Louisville Courier Journal. “During the legislative session this year, state lawmakers passed a bill changing how schools are identified…

Virginia Department of Education Awards 21st Century Grants

On August 26, VDOE announced that it is “awarding 28 grants to fund new 21st Century Community Learning Centers in 19 school divisions,” reports ABC 13 News. “The 21st Century Community Learning Centers program is authorized under Title IV, Part B, of the federal Elementary…

Mississippi Considering Ditching History Assessment

Kayleigh Skinner reports for Mississippi Today that the state’s Department of Education is considering eliminating the state’s U.S. history assessment. However, student performance on this test “is one component used in Mississippi’s accountability model, which assigns an A-F rating to schools and districts.” So, if…

Indiana Falling Short When It Comes to Foster Students?

According to The 74, this spring, when Indiana released a “bleak report” regarding educational outcomes for students in foster care, it “broke new ground in making public the state’s troubling statistics.” And the “same Indiana law that called for the first-ever release of the distressing…

Trump Admin “Falling Short” on ESSA Implementation

In Education Week, Megan Duff and Priscilla Wohlstetter provide an overview of a recent study conducted by them and their colleagues regarding the ESSA planning process, which concludes that the process has “veered off course.” How so? ESSA, contrary to NCLB, reverts much of the…

Federal Officials Allow New Mexico’s Removal of School Grades

The U.S. Department of Education has approved New Mexico’s changes to its school accountability plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act. Federal approval was necessary for state education officials to move forward with the planned changes. “Following the PED’s initial request from early March, a…

DeVos Smart for “Lenient Attitude” Toward ESSA Plans?

While states “frequently and successfully flexed their muscles” when negotiating the details of their Every Student Succeeds Act plans with the U.S. Department of Education, the question of “whether Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was smart to let them take that approach or often just…

“Blanket Approval” of ESSA Plans

“Even when state education agencies ignored or went against feedback from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) in their plans to comply with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), their plans were still approved,” writes Linda Jacobson regarding the same Duff and Wohlstetter report.  The new…

South Bend, Indiana, Transformation Plan Hits ESSA Snag…

According to Ted Booker at the South Bend Tribune, the Indiana city’s “blueprint for turning around five struggling South Bend schools was crafted with the understanding that federal school improvement grant money would be available for five years to help make staffing and curriculum changes.” However, the “five-year…

Idaho Misses Nearly All ESSA Benchmarks

Clark Corbin reports for Idaho EdNews that the state “ has failed to meet 33 of 34 interim targets for long-term goals outlined in the state’s plan to comply with federal education law.” Despite the plan incorporating a “series of yearly interim targets that incrementally…

ESSA’s “Missed Opportunities” for Students with Disabilities

In the context of ongoing ESSA implementation, this report from the National Center for Learning Disabilities provides the “first national analysis” of how state plans treat students with disabilities under ESSA. Assessing ESSA: Missed Opportunities for Students with Disabilities examines “the 15 most critical components of…

Education Week to Host Online ESSA Summit Today

Today from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET, Education Week will host an online summit that will take a “deep dive” into ESSA and give participants “a unique opportunity to directly interact with reporters and experts about implementation of the nation’s marquee K-12 law.” The…

Morial on Recent NUL ESSA Study

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) “establishes civil rights standards for educating students from historically underserved populations—such as children of color, students with disabilities, and those learning English as a second language” so that they “receive the resources they need,” writes National Urban League (NUL)…

New Report Highlights Promise of (and Roadblocks to) Personalized Learning Plans

Education Dive’s Linda Jacobson takes a look at a new Harvard University report that recommends implementing individual personalized learning plans for students. According to Jacobson, “the report also comes as the majority of states are either requiring or encouraging districts to develop individualized learning plans…

CCSSO Reports States Are Making Progress on School Improvement Plans

According to a new report from CCSSO, states are “making progress developing systems that will improve schools for all students, leveraging the flexibility provided under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).” This progress comes “as states are urgently building and initiating systems aimed at ensuring…

Oregon Not Properly Tracking Struggling Students

According to KTVZ, a recent report from the Oregon Secretary of State finds the state’s education department “only made partial progress on three of the 15 recommendations to improve education for students in online or alternative schools” and “made no progress on the remaining 12.”…

124 Evidence-Based Afterschool Programs Eligible for ESSA Funds

A new report from the Wallace Foundation looks at afterschool programs in the U.S. that are eligible for funding under ESSA. “The law also encourages—and in some cases requires—that applicants for its various funding streams establish that their programs are backed by strong evidence of…

New Mexico Reshaping Tests and Evaluations and Resubmit Plans

New Mexico’s Public Education Department is set to begin changes to the state’s standardized test and teacher evaluations. Last week the department posted surveys for local stakeholders to weigh in on the upcoming changes. After the feedback period closes, PED plans to resubmit their state…

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