ESSA Essentials: Peer reviews, achievement gaps, trackers, and more

essa-essenEvery week in our ESSA Advance newsletter, we identify and share the most important pieces of news, analysis, and opinion about the Every Student Succeeds Act.

In case you missed it – here are the top items you should know about this week:

1. ESSA Peer Review Is Underway: Led by Bellwether and the Collaborative

As of today, twelve states and the District of Columbia have submitted their plans and are already receiving feedback from the U.S. Department of Education.  The Collaborative and Bellwether Education Partners have also embarked upon an independent peer review of state accountability plans, which you will continue to hear about in the weeks ahead. Check out the list of reviewers and the rubric here!


2. Civil rights leaders weigh in on ESSA and closing gaps in achievement.

Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, authored an opinion piece on closing the achievement gap under ESSA. Chavis believes, “raising awareness about ESSA among all parents, especially Black parents is vital,” and calls on parents to “increase their input on these plans in each state.” Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, also notes the recent rollback of the ESSA regulations “has led to more confusion and uncertainty for states who are in the middle of drafting their accountability plans,” and emphasizes the responsibility of the Dept. of Education to ensure state accountability plans are putting the needs of children first and demands it hold states “accountable when they fail to do so.”


3. Education Week develops an ESSA plan tracker.

Education Week has developed a “Key Takeaways Dashboard” to track the details of states’ ESSA plans. The dashboard examines states’ overall goals, school ratings, academic indicators, school quality indicators, measuring groups, and opt-out testing. The page also provides direct links to states’ submitted draft plans. Check it out!


4. Minnesota released some elements of its plan, and Wisconsin will release its first draft Friday.

The Minnesota Dept. of Education released preliminary elements of the state’s ESSA plan, and MinnPost takes a deep dive into how the plan developed and the initial elements that were unveiled. They include items about testing frequency, indicators for identifying troubled schools, and plans for holding schools accountable. Another Midwest state, Wisconsin, is scheduled to release its draft ESSA plan this Friday, but it comes with clouds hanging overhead as some Republican legislators continue to criticize their lack of involvement in the process. 


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