Advocates across the Network are working to shine a spotlight on both strengths and weaknesses in state ESSA plans.
Advocates in Minnesota are responding to the state’s new proposed school accountability system. As EdAllies write in a recent blog post, the state’s ESSA plan proposes using performance and quality metrics—as opposed to incorporating multiple metrics beyond test scores—to identify the bottom 5 percent of schools for improvement, leaving the other 95 percent of schools largely without any designation. This is a major shift from the Multiple Measurements Rating (MMR) system the state previously used to score schools based on performance.
In a recent hearing with state policymakers, Educators for Excellence-Minnesota also expressed concern that the exit criteria required to fall off the “in need of improvement” list was setting the bar too low. “It is possible for a school to not improve at all despite receiving support, but for other schools to perform worse, and for the school to still be exited from support,” Madaline Edison, executive director of Educators for Excellence-Minnesota, said. The public comment period on Minnesota’s plan is open until Aug. 31.
The Campaign for School Equity (CSE) recently criticized the state’s plan for combining the scores of Black, Hispanic, and Native American students into one subgroup. According to a new report released from CSE, “This is not only inconsistent with the requirements of the ESSA, it also masks differences in student performance among these student subgroups.”
The CSE report also examines equity across Tennessee in multiple areas, including teacher quality, school discipline, and educational options.
After early peer feedback drew criticism from Lamar Alexander and other national leaders, Delaware has become the first state to receive ESSA plan approval from the U.S. Department of Education.
Following the early submission deadline when 17 states proposed their ESSA plans, a number of national policy and advocacy organizations have weighed in with feedback about the various plans’ strengths and weaknesses. Visit this post for a round-up of the most pressing advice offered this summer by PIE Network partners.