September 15, 2017: Letter to Secretary of Education DeVoss stating "We strongly request that the civil rights laws regulatory tools required by the Department of Education be continued and enforced." (Click here to view/download the full letter.)
1. Provide states with more flexibility in establishing accountability measures. It also includes federal guardrail for states as they design those measures.
2. It preserves USDOE's role in implementing and enforcing the law's federal requirements. www.thanwatchus.org
3. It reduces reliance on high-stakes testing.
4. It provides for new investments to improve and expand the access to preschool for the nation's youngest learners.
5. It requires states set goals to boost graduation rates and percentage rates meeting state standards in math and reading, including low-income students, minority students, those with disabilities and English language learners. States then have to rate schools and the rating must be based on how they're meeting those goals. If any group of students in a school is deemed "consistently underperforming," then a school's rating must reflect that.
6. ESSA says states must give "substantial weight" to the academic indicators in their accountability systems, like student proficiency and graduation rates. Those must be given "much greater weight" than measures of school quality or student success, like chronic absenteeism or school climate and safety, when it comes to identifying struggling schools.
The law has no definition of what these terms means. This is in keeping with the laws' notion of state flexibility and preferences.
7. ESSA says three buckets of schools must receive support and interventions:
1) The lowest-performing 5 percent of Title I schools and high schools graduating less than 67 percent of students;
2) Schools where one or more groups of students are consistently underperforming;
3) And schools that have one or more groups of students whose performance would place them in the bottom 5 percent of Title I schools.