ESSA spurs shift to new state accountability models

Aug 4, 2016 by

  • Waivers from the No Child Left Behind era are now expired, spurring an official move to the policies of the Every Student Succeeds Act, including accountability systems based on more than just standardized test scores.
  • U.S. News & World Report writes the new systems must allow states to identify the lowest performing 5% of schools and intervene to improve them, but it leaves the ranking system and intervention plans to state agencies, rather than defining responses at the federal level.
  • As the U.S. Department of Education finalizes its rules regarding accountability under ESSA, civil rights groups are imploring the federal government to be specific in what states must do, but others are advocating for flexibility and less prescriptive oversight.

Dive Insight:

The Department of Education closed its comment period over proposed regulations on Monday, moving into the next phase of its rule-making process. It has said it wants to finalize rules for how states must implement ESSA by the end of the year, before President Barack Obama leaves office.

California has particularly taken issue with some of the proposed regulations. A major element of ESSA is its return of power to the states when it comes to school improvement, yet California education officials say the accountability system it is creating could be limited by the department’s regulations. Specifically, alternative methods of rating schools would not be able to count toward much of its final state performance grade, and the proposed regulations would require a summative score report rather than a more holistic look at school performance.

Further details about the state’s complaints came out Monday, including that uniform accountability measures would hurt the state’s alternative schools and that a 2017-18 implementation is too soon, according to EdSource. State Board of Education President Michael Kirst and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson have called on the federal government to push ESSA’s start date back a year.

Source: ESSA spurs shift to new state accountability models | Education Dive

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