ESSA Essentials: ESSA co-author talks about importance of local control, two states submit plans

essa-essenIn case you’re not already signed up for our ESSA Advance newsletter (sign up here!), here are the top ESSA stories you should know about from this past week:

1. Former Rep. Kline discusses ESSA and local control while Former Gov. Jack Markell sees opportunity for assessment audits.

Former Congressman and chair of the House Education Committee, John Kline, wrote in The Hill this week how ESSA shifts “education authority and accountability out of Washington and back to the states, where it belongs.” One of the leading authors of the legislation, Kline cites Sec. DeVos’ recent comments that ESSA “essentially does away with the whole argument about Common Core,” agreeing that states have customized their standards to meet the needs of their students – and highlights that “the standards they have in place aren’t Washington standards; they are local standards.” On another front, former Delaware Gov. Jack Markell wrote in The 74 about the importance of assessments and the opportunity states have under ESSA to use federal funds for conducting assessment audits. Reflecting on the steps taken in Delaware to ensure that students “weren’t taking duplicative assessments and that all assessments added value,” he argued that audits “can be a tool for states to ensure that all tests provide high-quality feedback to inform instruction” and “help parents and educators better serve our students.” Markell raised concern that among the ESSA plans submitted so far, not one has included an assessment audit.

2. Add Colorado and Oregon to the list of those who have submitted their ESSA plans.

Colorado submitted its ESSA plan to the Dept. of Education. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper commented that the state “looks forward to continuing the conversation with key partners to create a more equitable system for every student in Colorado and ensure that every student is college and career ready.”  Oregon was also among those submitting its ESSA plan to the Dept. of Education as part of the initial deadline.

3. State advocates weigh in on New York’s draft ESSA plan

This week, New York released its draft ESSA plan – and state advocates were quick to respond. High Achievement New York released a statement on New York’s submitted draft ESSA plan. According to Executive Director Stephen Sigmund, the group was “pleased that annual state assessments are such an integral part of accountability under the draft plan.”  But Ian Rosenblum, executive director of The Education Trust—New York, said the plan “appears to be a mixed bag for equity” and is “more focused on identifying the very lowest-performing schools than on encouraging improvement for all schools and all groups of students to ensure that they receive a quality education.”

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