This Week’s ESSA News: New School Accountability Systems From Alaska to Arizona, Considering the Destiny of Geography & More
This update provides information on the current progress of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the educational plans being implemented by states and school districts. It is a collaborative effort with ESSA Essentials, an ongoing series from the Collaborative for Student Success. This series is an extension of their ESSA Advance newsletter, which you can sign up for here! (To see our previous ESSA updates from past weeks, click here.)
As we enter the New Year, several states are disclosing their school report cards and releasing related data. For instance, in Alaska, the state Department of Education has flagged approximately one-fifth of the public schools to receive additional support under their new accountability system called the "System for School Success." This system was developed to comply with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, which was passed in 2015, and to maintain the state’s eligibility for federal funds. This information comes from a report by Tegan Hanlon in the Anchorage Daily News.
Similarly, in Arizona, the state Department of Education has created a website that consolidates data on the state’s schools. This website provides information about individual schools, including students’ test performance, disciplinary actions, and the number of emergency-certified teachers working in each school. AZCentral.com reports on this development.
Kentucky has also made enhancements to its report card system. The state Department of Education has introduced an online platform that contains data metrics and visualizations to highlight important information about schools and districts. The Owensboro Times covers this story.
In addition to these updates, Chalkbeat announces that New York has released school ratings data, which includes a list of struggling schools. The list comprises 124 schools in New York City. These designations are part of a new method for identifying low-performing schools under ESSA. While test scores and graduation rates continue to be influential factors, the new system emphasizes student growth over time and incorporates new criteria. Chalkbeat New York provides further details on the struggling schools.
Education Week published an article titled "Is Geography Destiny?" which delves into the impact of socioeconomic factors, geographic location, and education quality. It emphasizes the significance of school funding mechanisms, as state and local funding each contribute approximately 45 percent of total spending on public schools. Many decision makers are exploring the creation of new funding systems that allocate more resources to students from low-income households and English-language learners. Furthermore, ESSA requires districts to disclose the amount of money spent per student, which allows communities to examine funding disparities between neighboring schools. Andrew Ujifusa explores these issues further in Education Week.
Finally, an important takeaway from all of this is the importance of starting small and following the evidence when it comes to improving education. By implementing evidence-based practices and gradually making changes, we can ensure that all students have the opportunity to succeed.
Are you looking to create a program that is based on evidence? If so, you may be wondering where to start. In an article by Acreanda Davis, the importance of exploratory research in the education sector is discussed. This article, shared by Bellwether Education on Twitter, highlights the power of conducting exploratory research in order to create effective programs in education. Stay updated on the latest news and information in education by signing up for the ESSA Advance newsletter, which is delivered to your inbox every Tuesday. Additionally, you can also sign up for newsletter to receive stories like these straight to your inbox.