The U.S. Department of Education has had a light touch in implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act. So far, it has approved just about every ESSA plan to come down the pike—except for one: Michigan.
Back in August, the department told Michigan that its application, which offered three possible pathways on accountability, was missing key information. It wasn’t even complete enough to examine, the agency said. The state resubmitted its application several weeks later, and the department is sending it back through the peer review. Michigan got an ESSA feedback letter last month.
The big takeaway: The department appears to think that Michigan’s application is now thorough enough to review. That could be a signal that U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is likely to approve her home state’s plan.
The department did flag some problems with the state’s application though. For instance, the state did not set long-term goals for achievement that say exactly what Michigan expects for different subgroups of students, including English-language learners, students in special education, and racial minorities. And it isn’t sure that Michigan’s system makes it possible to compare schools across the state.
There also are some problems in the state’s application that weren’t cited in the department’s feedback letter to Michigan. For instance, peer reviewers didn’t think Michigan’s application spelled out what kinds of academic gains schools need to make to no longer be considered low-performing.
Want to know where ESSA approval stands across the country? Check out this map: