Thoughts from the Field

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

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…

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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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New Take on Education Equity

Ashley Jochim, senior research analyst at the Center on Reinventing Public Education, notes the growing skills shift students need from traditional academics to non-achievement-based educational outcomes. She explains that ESSA, “implicitly recognizes this shift with its requirement that assessment of a non-academic measure of student…

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Nonprofit Sues Wisconsin Education Agency

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) has filed a suit against the Wisconsin Education Agency to “determine if SPI/DPI are illegally implementing federal law [ESSA], without the proper state authority,” WILL argues that the Wisconsin DPI, along with other states, have to get…

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Texas Letting Districts Rate Themselves

When Texas “rolled out its new accountability system under the Every Student Succeeds Act late last year, local superintendents en masse sent letters home to their students’ parents telling them that the letter grade report cards were flawed, simplistic evaluations of their schools,” writes Daarel…

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Will New Mexico’s ESSA Changes Test DeVos?

“New Mexico is planning a major shakeup of its plan to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act,” writes Alyson Klein for Education Week. “And it’s not the only state that’s mulling changes. Among those with potential revisions in the works: Indiana, Michigan, South Carolina, and…

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Digging into District Spending in a Dozen States

Burnette reports that states are beginning to report spending data as required by ESSA, but that this is “one of the most difficult pieces of the law to comply with and has gotten fierce pushback from district officials who complained that breaking out school spending…

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A “Consumer’s Guide” to ESSA Testing

A new National Education Policy Center (NEPC) report from Madhabi Chatterji examines the testing and accountability landscape in the wake of federal approval of state ESSA plans. The report looks at how states should be “alert to any unexpected negative outcomes of testing on students,…

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“Caught in the Middle” in Michigan

Louise Wrege reports for the Herald Palladium that Michigan “now has two versions of statewide school accountability – one from the Michigan Department of Education and the other mandated by the Legislature.” The Michigan Department of Education plan under ESSA “received federal approval for its plan…

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School Improvement and Educational Equity

Collaborative for Student Success Communications Specialist Erika Ross takes readers on a sort of “privilege walk” in blog form to explore the urgent question of equity in today’s educational environment through the prism of ESSA school improvement plans. In doing so, she highlights the findings…

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Supplement-Not-Supplant – “Sorry Not Sorry”

Marguerite Roza writes in this Brookings piece that “new draft guidance the U.S. Department of Education released last month on monitoring the ‘supplement-not-supplant’ provision [of Title I] might be perceived as the current administration issuing a big sorry not sorry to equity advocates.” According to…

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“Big Changes to Prior Reforms” in New Mexico

Shelby Perea reports for the Albuquerque Journal that new Governor Lujan Grisham is planning “big changes” for “cornerstone education systems” in New Mexico. But before doing so, “the community will get a brief period to weigh in on proposed replacements.” Last week, the state Public…

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Is ESSA Another “Elusive Dream” for Equity?

Writing for Black Press USA, Dr. Elizabeth V. Primas, Program Manager for NNPA ESSA Awareness Campaign, says that, as “education leaders review the individual state plans that have been developed and approved in keeping with the Every Student Succeeds Act, it is obvious that many…

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Idaho Ed Officials Looking for Feedback on Accountability System

According to Idaho EdNews, state Education officials “are asking for the public’s feedback on a series of proposed changes to Idaho’s school accountability plan.” This plan, which is mandated by ESSA, “outlines goals for Idaho’s education system, benchmarks schools should meet and steps to be…

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“Hodge Podge” of State Approaches to Measuring Post-High School Readiness

States are taking a varied approach to measuring post-high school readiness. According to Education Week’s Alyson Klein, “nearly every state is gauging school performance in part by whether students show that they are ready for life after high school.”  She notes thatthe big reason for…

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Michigan School Ratings Being Reviewed by State Attorney General

According to Ron French at Bridge Michigan, the “fight over grading Michigan schools on an A-to-F scale apparently isn’t over yet.” The Michigan Department of Education says it “will hold off on implementing the new accountability system because of concerns that parts of the system…

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States Allowed to Try More Than One Test as Part of Innovative Assessment Pilot?

According to Alyson Klein in Education Week, a December message from federal officials to the Georgia Department of Education, state officials who are thinking about applying for ESSA’s Innovative Assessment pilot program “don’t have to pick just one exam for your test drive—but you do have…

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Looking Ahead to the 116th Congress

The 74’s Carolyn Phenicie has “6 Education Predictions for the New Split Congress,” including some “ESSA changes.” The Education Department has “set a March 1, 2019, deadline for states to change their ESSA plans for how they’ll rate schools in the 2019-20 school year,” Phenicie…

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Educators for High Standards’ Advocacy Project Capstones

Over the course of the 2017-2018 school year, Educators for High Standards’ Teacher Champions have designed and implemented state-based advocacy projects focused around standards, assessments, and their state’s accountability plans under ESSA. Teacher Champions in Arizona, Kentucky, Michigan, and Wyoming engaged with parents, community members, teachers, and…

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Civil Rights Groups Seek Oversight of DeVos ESSA Implementation

Andrew Ujifusa writes for Education Week that a “leading coalition of civil rights groups wants federal lawmakers to focus on oversight of the U.S. Department of Education when the new Congress begins next year.” In a letter to Capitol Hill, the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights “asked Congress to…

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Indiana Seeks to Change ESSA Plan to Drop Federal School Ratings

Jeanie Lindsay reports that in Indiana, state officials have proposed a change to the state’s ESSA plan, which would stop schools in the state from getting two separate ratings—one state, one federal—next year. “The state department of education’s ESSA change would get rid of the…

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ESSA Report Cards Roll Out “Frustrates School Leaders”

Daarel Burnette II reports for Education Week that the “rollout of states’ redesigned school accountability systems in recent weeks has reignited tensions between policymakers, practitioners, and parents over how best to define and incentivize school success.” Just about every state developed new accountability systems under…

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Montana Delays Release of School Report Cards

Matt Hoffman writes for the Ravalli Republic that Montana “won’t be releasing its new report cards that evaluate school performance in December as previously planned.” Pointing to “guidance from the Department of Education about the Every Student Succeeds Act,” Montana education officials announced they would not…

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School Improvement = State Improvement

Dale Chu writes in Governing that ESSA gives state education leaders—particularly governors and chiefs—a unique opportunity to provide all students with an excellent education. At the “heart of this opportunity” are state plans, which “outline how each state will ensure educational excellence and equity.” Chu…

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Arizona Needs Improvement on School Improvement

Brenna Bailey reports for the Arizona Daily Star that, while Arizona has long focused on local control of schools, the Collaborative’s Promise to Practice report “says the state’s approach has backfired when it comes to improving its lowest performing schools.” Peer reviewers found that Arizona’s…

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