Thoughts from the Field

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

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…

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…

Special Education Advocates Hopeful for Biden Administration

As the first presidential candidate in decades to include full funding of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as a campaign goal, President-elect Joe Biden has promised to make an effort to deliver billions of dollars of additional federal funding to special education programs…

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…

Improving School Mental Health and Wellness Efforts Through Arts Education

Arts education can be leveraged by schools to deepen mental health and wellness resources for students, says the Education Commission of the States, which in a time of great disruption in education, should include trauma-informed approaches to instruction and student and family outreach. State, district,…

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…

Association of Business Leaders Releases Education Priorities

Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers of America’s leading companies, recently issued a set of education recommendations for members of the business community, who the council says “can be part of the solution [to the opportunity gap] by investing further in programs that…

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp To Seek Federal Testing Waiver for the 2020-21 Academic Year

Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post reports that Georgia will be the first state that will pursue a federal testing waiver for the 2020-21 academic year due to the coronavirus pandemic. This school year, Education Secretary Betsy Devos approved a one-year waiver that suspended “federally…

New Brookings Report Looks at NAEP Civics Results

In this new report, the Brookings Institution takes a look at the recent release of the National Center of Education Statistics’ results from the 2018 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) civics assessment to answer whether public schools are living up to their “core mission”…

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…

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