More State ESSA Plan Submissions = Another Round of Independent Peer Reviews


On Monday, September 18, 32 states will submit their ESSA plans to the U.S. Dept. of Education (Alabama and Texas have extra time due to recent hurricanes). Our expert group of peer reviewers are looking forward to reviewing these plans alongside Bellwether Education Partners. Before the next round of peer reviews starts, we wanted to make you aware of some exciting updates.

More plans require more experts. So, Bellwether and the Collaborative worked diligently to invite additional experts to participate in the process. They include:

  • Joining Tony Bennett (IN), Terry Holliday (KY) and Gerard Robinson (FL) are four new former chief state school officers: Lillian Lowery (MD), Kathy Cox (GA), Dale Erquiaga (NV) and Tom Luna (ID) – and former secretary of education Javaid E. Siddiqi
  • Several strong conservative voices will further improve our partisan balance: Ginny Gentles from the American Federation of Children, Lisa Graham Keegan from A for Arizona and education advisor to John McCain’s presidential campaigns, and David Dunn from the Texas Charter Schools Association
  • State education experts: Donna Johnson from the DE State Board of Education, Jamie Woodson from TN SCORE, and Aaron Churchill from the Fordham Institute-Ohio
  • New national civil rights advocates: Unidos US and The Education Trust
  • National education experts: Alice Johnson Cain from TeachPlus, Soncia Coleman from the United Way, and Sandy Kress, senior education advisor to President George W. Bush
  • And the 2015 National Teacher of the Year, Texas high school English teacher Shanna Peeples

Check out the full list of first-round peer reviewers here.

We look forward to sharing the results of what these experts find in the 34 remaining state ESSA plans with you later this year. For now, check out the first-round findings and best practices to be looking for in these newly submitted plans at