The Every Student Succeeds Act: What's Going on in Western States?
Every Student Succeeds Act
Signed in to law in 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) replaced the No Child Left Behind Act. ESSA emphasizes college and career readiness, accountability, scaling back assessments, increasing access to preschool and the important role state and local communities play in making their schools successful. ESSA federal funding acts as an incentives package for innovation in America’s school systems.
While the final regulations are still taking shape, many states have formed working groups, task forces and committees to plan for the implementation of ESSA. Below are the broad strokes of the federal timeline for carrying out the provisions of the Act.
- August 1, 2016: Comments for notice of proposed rulemaking due for the U.S. Department of Education’s review.
- October 2016: Final regulations are published and will go into effect.
- Spring 2017: Final state plans submitted to the U.S. Department of Education.
- July 1, 2017: Changes to formula programs go into effect.
- 2017-2018 School Year: Remaining ESSA provisions go into effect.
Recent and Upcoming Activities in Western States
As soon as the law was signed in December, the states sprung into action making plans for its implementation. Below is a summary of publicly available information from each western state on their activities.
The Department of Education and Early Development published a webpage that provides information about the state plan and community involvement.
- Community & Educator Engagement: Alaska held five webinar presentations on the ESSA State Plan in May and June 2016. A MeetingSphere space has been created for Alaskans to contribute their thoughts and questions about the three key elements of the ESSA State Plan.
- Working Group: Alaska created an advisory committee of representatives from school districts, educational organizations, and education partners from across the state to review and provide recommendations on the options for the state plan. The state has also utilized focus groups and working groups to consider the specific technical recommendations for various sections of the state plan.
- Community & Educator Engagement: The department has a public survey available for stakeholders to contribute to the development of the plan until September 30th. On October 1st, the draft plan will be released and the department will take public comments on the plan.
The Department of Education has published its ESSA resources on a dedicated webpage, which includes an e-mail address for the public to communicate questions and comments.
- Community & Educator Engagement: Phase I of California's ESSA stakeholder outreach took place in May through the beginning of July 2016 and consisted of webinars, a brief survey, and regional stakeholder meetings. Phase II of stakeholder outreach is scheduled to take place in the fall of 2016 and will focus on public review and comment on a draft ESSA state plan.
The Department of Education has set up a website with information about the development of the state plan. They also have an E-Newsletter and a blog which provide updates about the state’s implementation of ESSA.
- Community & Educator Engagement: The Department of Education conducted a listening tour in the spring of 2016 to obtain public input before it began the development of the state plan.
- Working Group: The department is using a Hub & Spoke committee model for the development of its state implementation plan. There is a centralized, formal Hub committee which has an oversight role in the development of the draft. There are also various spoke committees that will develop and review sections of the state plan.
The Department of Education is revising the state’s strategic plan to include the ESSA implementation plan. It will present the revised plan to the State Board of Education on December 6, 2016.
- Community & Educator Engagement: The department conducted a listening tour between April and July of 2016. In addition, it also conducted 108 focus groups across the state and collected surveys from 1,429 stakeholders. They published the findings in a report online. Throughout the fall, the board will host community meetings and the governor will host town hall meetings to gather public input about the plan revisions.
- Working Group: The governor assembled an ESSA team to help develop the framework for the new strategic plan in compliance with ESSA requirements.
The Department of Education has listed the details of their anticipated plan on their website in order to foster transparency and public accountability.
- Community & Educator Engagement: The department will open the drafts for public comment in December 2016 and January 2017.
- Working Group: The department created specific work groups within each of the five components of their state plan.
The Office of Public Instruction has published a webpage with a brief overview of its ESSA history and plans for the plan development process.
- Community & Educator Engagement: Montana is planning to host two stakeholder meetings this fall. In addition, it will have an open period for public comment on the drafted plan from November 10th through December 9th, 2016.
The DOE has limited information on their website about the transition to ESSA and the development of their state plan.
- Working Group: The Superintendent of Public Instruction has called upon a group of stakeholders from across Nevada to serve as an Advisory Group in the development of a state education plan.
The New Mexico Public Education Department has not published information about their efforts regarding the implementation of the ESSA.
Oregon provides information on their website about the implementation and timeline of ESSA, along with a comparison of ESSA to NCLB and a timeline for the development of their state plan.
- Community & Educator Engagement: The department held 13 community forums from March 2016 through June 2016 in order to get public input into the development of the state plan of implementation for ESSA.
- Working Group: The department formed four work groups made up of internal department employees as well as external stakeholders who were selected via an application process. These groups met four times over the summer to discuss different elements of the state plan of implementation.
Utah’s State Board of Education has published limited information about their efforts regarding the implementation of the ESSA.
- Working Group: In August, the State Board of Education directed the State Superintendent to assemble work groups for the creation of the state implementation plan.
The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction published a website with a diversity of information regarding the state’s plan to implement ESSA.
- Community & Educator Engagement: Washington’s Superintendent of Public Instruction hosted nine community forums throughout the state from June through August of 2016. The meetings provided information to the public about changes associated with ESSA and to host discussions about its implementation considerations.
- Working Group: Washington established multiple groups to contribute to the development of the state’s ESSA implementation plan. There is an internal leadership team, a consolidated plan team, and a multitude of work groups on various aspects of the plan’s development.
Wyoming provides information about the transition to ESSA on their website, which includes FAQs, transition information, and an overview of the previous No Child Left Behind Act.
- Community & Educator Engagement: The Department of Education accepted public comment about ESSA implementation via an online form through September 1st, 2016. They also conducted five virtual town hall meetings to discuss five various aspects of the new law.
The Pacific Islands of American Samoa
The Pacific Islands of American Samoa have a brief overview of the ESSA on the Accountability section of their website.
The Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands
The Public School System has not published information about their efforts regarding the implementation of the ESSA.
The Guam Department of Education has not published information about their efforts regarding the implementation of the ESSA.
For more information contact Elizabeth Whitehouse, director of education and workforce, at The Council of State Governments: firstname.lastname@example.org or 859-457-6400.