U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has greenlighted Minnesota and West Virginia’s plans for implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act. They are the first two states that submitted plans in the fall to win federal approval.
Minnesota is planning to use attendance as its indicator of school quality and student success. And the state is planning to identify successful schools as well as those in need of help. When Minnesota turned in its plan this fall, it said it planned to create a “dashboard” at some point down the road, which would incorporate a variety of school performance factors. In the meantime, the state said it was still working out how to rate its schools. That didn’t appear to raise any eyebrows at the Department of Education, according to the state’s feedback letter. But the feds told Minnesota officials they needed to better explain how the state would ensure that poor children have access to their fair share of effective teachers.
West Virginia says it wants to cut in half the number of students scoring below the proficient level by 2030. When the department critiqued West Virginia’s plan, federal officials raised questions about whether the state was following ESSA’s requirements for incorporating English-language proficiency into its accountability system. It is not clear if the state made changes to that part of its plan before winning approval.
Where do ESSA plans stand? So far, the department has given the thumbs-up to plans submitted by 17 states, plus the District of Columbia. Colorado is the only state that submitted its plan in the spring that’s still waiting for answer. The department has also sent responses to 33 of the 34 states that submitted plans this fall. South Carolina is the only state waiting for feedback.
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