Saturday, April 9, 2016

NSBA Conference: ESSA update

updating as we go...
Zola runs policy and advocacy in DC for NSBA
all material is on the app
"we're only about 50% done; we have the law. Now we have to implement"
"be careful what you ask for"
got more local control; our responsibility to do right by this new law

Title I is the most significantly amended section of the law
standards, assessments, accountability systems
state plan for Title I
"you work with your state to determine everything about what your accountability system looks like"
DoE will soon release timeline on new plans
state must develop "with timely and meaningful consultation" of districts
if you haven't already noticed your state heading in that direction, make an effort to be involved
must be made available for public comment for 30 days
waivers expire in August; department figuring out what happens next year
still must have standards in math, ELA, science; at least three levels of achievement; must be aligned with entrance to college and vo-tech systems
specific standards for students with most significant cognitive disabilities
state has to have adopted English language proficiency standards
mandated assessments in 3-8 and high school; five subgroups; disaggregated data
except for middle school advanced math (kids who took hs math ahead had to be tested twice)
locally-selected national assessments is being taken up by neg reg (negotiated rulemaking) : parameters now being set on that (thus SAT, ACT, instead of state test)
"appropriate accommodation for children with disabilities"
inclusion of ELL
getting LOTS of questions on opt out: maintains 95% of population being tested, 95% of subgroups
state has to monitor and provide oversight of that being met
state agency is required in their state plan to specifically explain how they'll factor this 95% into their accountability system
parents must be able to obtain policy on opting out
NO MORE AYP; no more 100% proficiency
state to develop index system, accountability system
"state has an opportunity to step back and look at what should be included in your accountability system"
academic factors and one non-academic factor: state gets to assign weights, but academic factors have to count more
state has to ID schools for "comprehensive support and improvement" every three years
lowest 5%, high schools that graduate less than 2/3rds, consistent underperforming subgroups (this last group IDed every year)
local system must develop and implement an comprehensive plan for improving outcomes for students
school district must issue an accountability report card each year; does have to be disaggregated by subgroup AND districts can include things they think important for parents and public to know

Title II
heighted emphasis on principals and other school leaders; states can use 3% of funds they get from fed for PD for school leaders
"highly qualified" no longer
teacher eval systems required under waiver no longer required
states and districts can use these funds to improve their eval systems
teacher evals now de-linked from student standardized tests
evidence of student achievement, may include student growth
"very different animal that evaluation systems under NCLB"
integrating education technology; using date to improve student achievement & ensuring student privacy protected per FERPA

Title III
language instruction: eliminates separate accountability system for ELL
5M ELL learners nationwide, so about 10% of students
English Language proficiency now included under Title I
done to prioritize their learning
gives ELL a higher profile in the accountability system
requires standardized entrance and exit of the ELL students
can allow use of Title III as bonuses for districts with large gains in ELL proficiency

Title IV: 21st century
Title I A authorized at $1.65B for "well-rounded education for all students" for "healthy and safe schools" and for access to technology in the classroom
"student supported academic enrichment"
district must do a needs assessment every three years
already seeing concerns that they can get to this funding level

Title V
state innovation and local flexibility: transferability of funds
can transfer funds into Title I
Part B increased funding for rural education; transfers funds for technology out of this section as it is elsewhere

Title VI
three programs: Indian, Hawaiian, Alaskan native education
new option to enter agreements with local tribes for collaboration
collaboration "a recurrent theme throughout ESSA"

Impact Aid
federal properties in district or students whose families are in the military (essentially it's a PILOT from the Fed)
maintenance of efforts requirements now eliminated
updates the provision on hold harmless
school construction funding and broadens eligibility

Title VIII
local governance
(that's the prohibition of the Secretary of Ed requiring national standards and such)

allows a request from a district to the state for an exemption of any requirement under ESSA

Title IX
education for homeless: state should be helping out with ID, enrollment, attendance, etc of homeless children
authorizes preschool development grants

Negotiated Rulemaking!
"all about how this law gets implemented"
standards, assessment, and supplement not supplant if they change has to go through neg reg
doing it for supplement not supplant and assessment
first round of discussions of supplement not supplant was very philosophical
on assessment (just ended yesterday)
one agreement so far on computer testing: lots to GO!
"sounding like a ping-pong match"
lots still to go

ESSA oversight hearing: three so far
"Congress is by no means letting go of the reins of this process"
US DoE gave guidance on "ESSA-like" assessment reforms, recruitment, and assessment literacy

FAQ guidance from US DoE from February on how ESSA is being implemented

Q: Superintendent says he feels "between a rock and a hard place" on 95% participation
state says he has to have it; parents pushing for opting out
No way he's going to make it to 95%; will he lose Title I?
Rules still to come from US DoE; from reading the law: "To me, that means your state agency determines the consequences."

Q: "highly qualified"
very contentious issue; HQT name "and all the drama around it" disappears
state plans that get put together for Title II; they have to go to the Fed as well
how those are constructed will determine a great deal

Q: can you use Title II for class size reduction still?
yes, I believe it is still an optional use of funds

Q: how do charter schools figure into the picture?
amendments on portability were defeated
Title IV also includes charter schools: $230M funds per year to start, expand charter schools

Q: concerned about the "pay for success" provision
bonds that funds private/public partnerships for "well-rounded education"
"there has been some reticent about this program; there's a Goldman Sacks scenario in the background here"

Q: on SIG: set aside for SIG, plus hold aside, state can take up to 10%; no hold harmless this year
should we work with federal delegation on funding? or push on state to not take it all?
"one of those weird nuances when you transfer from an old law to a new one"
"I'm not sure you're going to find a solution on that"


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