U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today announced the approval of the District of Columbia, Illinois, Oregon and Tennessee consolidated state plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
“As more and more state plans come under the Department’s review, I am heartened to see how states have embraced the spirit of flexibility under ESSA to improve education for individual students,” said Secretary DeVos.
Allowing states more flexibility in how they deliver education to students is at the core of ESSA. Each state crafted a plan that it feels will best offer educational opportunities to meet the needs of the state and its students. The following are some of the unique elements from each state's approved plan as highlighted by each state:
District of Columbia
- Creates the School Transparency and Reporting (STAR) framework, a universal framework for every public school in DC that will provide an easy-to-understand annual rating to each school based on 1-5 stars.
- Measures the quality of Pre-Kindergarten through use of the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS), which assesses the quality of teacher-child interactions in early childhood classrooms.
“DC’s plan is guided by our commitment to providing equitable access to high quality education for all students and flexibility for our schools to meet the unique needs of all students,” said DC State Superintendent for Education Hanseul Kang. “This plan is the right one for DC, and I am proud that it was informed by rigorous engagement with partners and community members, including the DC State Board of Education, local education agencies, parents, educators, and advocates.”
- Creates a College/Career Ready Indicator for high schools that measures the readiness of students for college based on several indicators, including GPA, performance on postsecondary readiness exams and attendance, in addition to considering community service hours, summer employment, participation in ROTC, and/or earning industry credentials.
- Uses survey responses from students to help assign schools a “school climate” score, giving students a chance to provide meaningful feedback and ensuring the student perspective will be a part of the school’s overall summative rating.
“Illinois is committed to supporting the whole child in transforming learning opportunities for all students in our state,” said Illinois State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D. “We want every child to feel well known and well cared for in our schools and to receive the individual support they need for academic excellence and postsecondary success. The Illinois ESSA Plan gives us the opportunity to foster collaboration and partnerships to build educators’ and leaders’ capacity for improved student outcomes. We appreciate the partnership with the U.S. Department of Education throughout the ESSA process, and we look forward to our continued efforts on behalf of each and every child.”
- Prioritizes four commitments in its plan: advancing equity; creating a well-rounded education; strengthening district systems; and fostering ongoing stakeholder engagement.
- Implements a new “Freshmen on track” measure to confirm that students have completed at least 6 credits within the first semester of freshmen year, recognizing the importance of credit attainment in early high school in order to graduate on time.
“Today is a tremendous milestone for Oregon. Oregon’s State Plan is founded on equity and represents the voices and communities we serve,” Oregon Deputy Superintendent Salam Noor said. “We want to put every one of our learners on a path to success from birth through high school, and beyond. And whether our students choose to attend college or go straight into the workforce, it’s critical that their school experience is full of opportunity, and ensures they are college and career ready.”
- Supports teacher and principal residencies to create more high-quality pipeline opportunities for prospective candidates to move into those roles; also establishes new grant initiatives that focus on increasing innovation and diversity in the educator workforce.
- Focuses on college readiness through the Tennessee Promise initiative.
“Our ESSA plan is built on what we’ve started in Tennessee and centered on the belief that every student should be ready for postsecondary when they graduate high school,” said Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen. “Tennessee’s education community helped us to create a strong plan that will help us take our work to the next level, and we look forward to continuing these partnerships now as we move forward.”