Last week, PIE Network members in Oregon and New York responded to recently released state ESSA plans. While New York advocates gave their state plan mixed reviews, Oregon leaders expressed satisfaction with the outcome.
In Oregon, Stand for Children Oregon and Chalkboard Project were part of a coalition that pushed the state to raise the bar for underserved students. As Parasa Chanramy, Stand Oregon’s policy and advocacy manager explains, the coalition had four main areas of focus, including:
- Higher expectations for students who are behind and higher expectations for schools with any group of students consistently underperforming
- Transparent information on academic outcomes and opportunities for all students at every school
- Better training support for teachers and school leaders
- Alignment of the plan with the state’s ongoing initiatives on early learning and equity.
Oregon’s initial draft plan, released in February, did not include these criteria, but the coalition pushed back, and the state addressed their concerns. Stand for Children Oregon is now encouraging community members to engage in the state’s meetings to redesign school report cards.
While Oregon’s plan addresses the needs of diverse students, The Education Trust-New York’s executive director Ian Rosenblum describes his state’s draft ESSA plan as a “mixed bag for equity.” The focus on academic achievement, chronic absenteeism, and college and career readiness are all positive inclusions he describes. However, he identifies weaknesses around identifying if schools are meeting the needs of all students and a focus on only the very lowest-performing schools instead of improvement for all schools and groups of students.
Read more about what advocates think of their states’ plans here.