Thursday, June 23, 2016

NSBA Trainers conference on ESSA

I'm in Columbus, OH this week for the National School Boards Association Trainers conference. We're getting an update from the Ohio School Boards Association on the Every Child Succeeds Act. 

updating as we go...
Initial comment "This gives so much power back to the state...all that control...still needs to be developed" Important for school boards to stay involved as states develop their own plans under ESSA

Damon Asbury, Director, Legislative Services, Ohio School Boards Association
one of the most important pieces of legislation to come out of DC in years
"this represents some positive opportunities on several levels"
"moving things back to the states and local districts is important, but they need to be geared up to handle it"
concern in Ohio that they'll think that they're set as is; had a plan to move for summer
"hold on, that's too fast...reset the direction of public need to engage your stakeholders"
slow legislators down, moving too fast, need engagement
NCLB overdue for reauthorization
"pretty much unanimity on direction"
Republicans wanted much more "follow the money"
questions around equity and access
some of the reasons that they can't come together is on issues in that regard

"pretty much a U turn from No Child Left Behind"
"reinforces state authority over standards, accountability, and other key education policies"
prohibits Secretary of Ed from requiring states to adopt specific standards and assessments
standards must be aligned with college and career skills: "that's not new language"
"leaves it up to the state to decide how to do this"
law requires that there be public involvement in state planning: school boards should think about what they want to see and speak up
Comment: "Devil's always in the details"

"every state is different"
"get them up to speed that they have a right and a responsibility to be involved in this process"
get them connected with other stakeholders
bill is effective for the state of 2017-18 school year; "not too early to start"
"chances are your state department is down the road on this, whether they've involved you or not"
Federal government still requires testing, and it's the same as before
states may allow districts to use a nationally-recognized high school assessment in lieu of state assessment, as long as it's aligned to standards and meet other requirements (including testing all kids)
On opt outs: state must develop own consequences if district drops below 95%
comment on relationship between standards and curriculum that is available
issue from Congress was call of local control: "suspect that this is a pendulum swing"
much of pushback was tied to assessment

states may use computer adaptive assessment; may measure above or below proficiency
states can set limit on amount of time devoted to assessment
results have to allow community to "meaningfully differentiate" schools: must use at least:
  • proficiency on state assessments; 
  • graduation rate; 
  • English language proficiency; 
  • growth or "other academic indicator" for K-8 schools; 
  • not less than one other state-set non-academic indicator of school quality or student success;
  •  95% participation in assessment
school improvement models now up to state; state must use "evidence-based interventions" for school improvement (no longer specific)
Q from group: how to transition schools and districts off the list
state is required to define exit criteria
Comprehensive Support and Improvement (every three years determined): lowest performing 5% of Title I schools on state accountability index; high schools with 67% (or less) graduation rates; and schools with underperforming subgroups that don't improve after a state-determined number of years
Targeted Support and Improvement (annually determined): schools with consistently underperforming subgroups as defined by the state
resource inequity must be noted and addressed
connection between governance issues and district underperformance
Local district must develop and implement support and improvement plan: must be done in partnership with stakeholders

data collection "did not go away with new ESSA"
accountability system, long-term goals and measurement of progess
indicators and methods
disaggregated subgroups including three new: foster care, homeless, and students with parents in military
graduation rates
ELL performance
OCR survey data
per pupil expenditure data (some discussion on including teacher salaries): some already doing
post-secondary enrollment
teacher qualifications

teachers: does not require specific education evaluation measures: permits but does not require use of Title II to implement teacher evaluation
states may "fund priorities" to get effective teachers for high-poverty, students of color
reauthorizes Teacher Incentive Fund
shift "in using poverty and population in the states as far as how much funds they're receiving"
new allowable use of federal funding by state choice
note: no longer federal requirement that teachers be evaluated in part by student test scores

note from group on national teacher shortage
no longer Highly Qualified Teacher provision; need implementation of equity plan

Key Decision Points for states:
  • assessments
  • accountability
  • educator effectiveness
  • school improvement: definition, organizational structure, wrap around services, evidence-based
  • Title funds
  • special populations
range of input across the country as states implement

NOT in ESSA: FERPA or data-privacy changes
no changes to school lunch programs (though Title IV use is allowed)
in changes to IDEA
IDEA, Child Nutrition, FERPA, all due for reauthorization

"this is the time for stakeholder engagement"

proposed assessment regulations: negotiated rulemaking reached consensus
proposed accountability regulations: open for public comment NOW
proposed supplement, not supplant regulations: negotiated rulemaking did NOT reach consensus, which means that they are NOT bound by decision, BUT there is additional Congressional oversight
(thus the back-and-forth again today in the Education Workforce Committee)

Federal level: rules and regulations must be out by December 10
unique ability to "reset" the direction at the state level

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