This Week’s ESSA News: Michigan’s New School Rating System Runs Afoul Of Education Law, States Look To Modify Education Plans Without Federal Sign-Off & More

This Week’s ESSA News: Michigan’s New School Rating System Runs Afoul of Education Law, States Look to Modify Education Plans Without Federal Sign-Off & More

This report provides an update on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the current education plans being implemented by states and school districts. It is a collaborative effort between ESSA Essentials and the Collaborative for Student Success, and is derived from their ESSA Advance newsletter. For more information and to stay updated, you can sign up for their newsletter.

In this report by Alyson Klein from Education Week, an important question is raised: What happens if a state decides to make changes to its ESSA plan without the approval of Betsy DeVos? This question might be answered by looking at the recent developments in New Mexico, where state officials have submitted an updated ESSA plan that is currently under review by federal education officials. However, New Mexico has already started taking steps to implement its new ESSA vision, even without the federal green light. This action could potentially put DeVos and her team in a difficult position, according to Klein.

New Mexico has informed schools that were supposed to be implementing state-selected turnaround plans, which could have included school closures, to stand down for now. Instead, state education officials will collaborate with districts to provide support for schools in areas such as attendance and family engagement. This decision aligns New Mexico with other states, most of which are not targeting schools for state intervention until three or four years from now.

However, it appears that New Mexico’s move contradicts the ESSA guidance issued by the Trump administration last year. According to this guidance, states must obtain approval from the education department before making changes to their ESSA plans.

The report also highlights a new analysis by Lindsay Dworkin and Anne Hyslop for the Alliance for Excellent Education. This analysis explores how states have reimagined their school accountability systems under ESSA and identifies new methods for identifying schools in need of support and improvement. Notably, the analysis suggests that Arkansas and Connecticut may underidentify schools for additional targeted support due to their narrower definitions of "consistently underperforming" compared to ESSA’s definition.

Furthermore, an article by Jennifer Chambers in the Detroit News reveals that Michigan’s newly implemented A-F school rating system conflicts with ESSA and the state’s ESSA plan, according to officials at the Michigan Department of Education. The department has received guidance from the Michigan Attorney General’s Office indicating that the new law does not meet the requirements of ESSA, which include addressing standards, assessments, accountability, and support for struggling schools. The A-F legislation in Michigan, which assigns letter grades to K-12 schools based on various metrics, has been deemed controversial.

Overall, states are making progress in developing school improvement plans that conform to the requirements of ESSA. However, there are instances where conflicts arise between state plans and federal guidelines, highlighting the need for careful review and coordination in the implementation of education policies.

We have recently published a new report titled "State Responsibilities & Opportunities for School Improvement Under #ESSA," which examines the actions that states are taking to ensure academic improvement for all students. You can access the report here: [insert link]. #StatesLeading

This progress is happening at a crucial time when states are actively working to establish and implement systems that prioritize academic improvement for all students, particularly those who are identified as low-performing under ESSA. Out of the 41 states that participated in our survey, two-thirds reported significant or moderate progress in fulfilling their ESSA-driven responsibilities related to school improvement. To see an independent peer review of each state’s efforts in school improvement, please click here.

Missing data in educational reports can have a negative impact on families and communities, leaving them uninformed and unaware. Under ESSA, it is mandatory for states to create report cards that offer meaningful information about students and schools. However, when these report cards lack data, are difficult to locate, or are not easily understandable, families and communities are left in the dark. For the third consecutive year, the Data Quality Campaign analyzed report cards from all 50 states and the District of Columbia to evaluate how effectively state leaders are utilizing this important resource to empower the public with quality information. The "Show Me the Data" report for 2019 provides more insights into the current state of state report cards and suggests changes that can be made by state leaders to enhance these resources without requiring substantial investments of time and money.

It is crucial for state leaders to ensure that report cards are resources accessible to all, as families cannot utilize data that they do not understand. To learn more about this issue, please visit: [insert link] #ShowMeTheData [insert image]

To stay informed and keep up to date with the latest news, sign up for the ESSA Advance newsletter. You will receive all the information straight to your inbox every Tuesday.

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  • ameliaburke

    Amelia Burke is a 27yo educational blogger and volunteer and student. She is currently a student at the University of Utah. She is interested in creative writing, writing for the web, and public speaking.



Amelia Burke is a 27yo educational blogger and volunteer and student. She is currently a student at the University of Utah. She is interested in creative writing, writing for the web, and public speaking.

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