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PAGE Offers Summary of ESSA Plan Submission

Friday, September 29, 2017  
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The Georgia Department of Education submitted the state's school accountability plan to the US Department of Education on Sept. 18, 2017, as required by the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. The ESSA plan details the criteria that establish the College and Career Readiness Performance Index (CCRPI) that purports to provide achievement levels of Georgia's public schools. The PAGE report below provides information on ESSA, how the state plan was developed, the disagreements over components of the plan between State School Superintendent Richard Woods and Gov. Nathan Deal, and anticipated next steps for approval.

 

What is the Every Student Succeeds Act?

 

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), passed by Congress in 2015, is the bi-partisan reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). It replaced the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), the previous reauthorization of the ESEA. ESSA scales back the authority of the US Department of Education by giving states more authority and flexibility regarding how their education systems are designed.

 

 

 

How was Feedback Gathered?

 

The Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) met with parents, students, educators, business and industry, and community members in eight feedback sessions across the state and through Superintendent Woods' advisory councils.

 

A State Advisory Committee was established to provide high-level direction and feedback to the Georgia's ESSA working committees. The committee was made up of 40 individuals representing state agencies, nonprofits, education advocacy groups, policymakers, superintendents, teachers, parents and students.

 

Each of the working committees were comprised of 20 individuals with five members representing different areas of GaDOE and 15 members representing stakeholders. The committees were:

  • Accountability Committee
  • Assessment Committee
  • Communications Committee
  • Education and Leader Development Committee
  • Education of the Whole Child Committee
  • Federal Programs to Support School Improvement Committee

The original ESSA draft was posted by GaDOE for public comment throughout the summer of 2017. Thousands of comments from the public were gathered, and the feedback was incorporated into the final document.

 

 

 

Governor's Involvement

 

Gov. Nathan Deal's office and the Governor's Office of Student Achievement (GOSA) were heavily involved in the process, including membership on several of the working committees. Several days before the Sept. 18 deadline for submission to the US Department of Education, Gov. Deal submitted a letter with many recommended changes to Georgia's ESSA plan. Outlined below are the Governor's requested changes, the changes Superintendent Woods made before submitting the report, what remained the same in the submitted report, and next steps.

 

 

 

Governor's Requested Changes

  • More detailed information about how GaDOE plans to incorporate assessment innovation and flexibility as well as explicit commitment to apply for the Innovative Assessment Demonstration Pilot
  • Inclusion of state-developed high stakes assessments for K-2 students in literacy and math by adding these test results to the CCRPI measurement for primary schools
  • Removal of CCRPI Closing Gaps indicators that would give schools more credit for progress made with high poverty students, students with disabilities, and students learning to speak English
  • Removal of CCRPI Closing Gaps points for student attendance, art programs, music programs, physical education programs, CTAE programs, enrollment in AP and IB programs, and completion of career pathway programs
  • Removal of a career planning CCRPI indicator
  • Adoption of GOSA's new criteria for turnaround-eligible schools found in HB 338 from the 2016 legislative session
  • Flexibility for districts from having to submit both a Comprehensive Needs Assessment and a District Improvement Plan
  • Moving the CCRPI Literacy indicators from being measured at the lowest bounds to the midpoint bounds in order to create a more ambitious and rigorous reading target for students

 

 

 

Changes Made in the Submitted Plan

  • Removal of the career planning CCRPI indicator
  • Adoption of GOSA's new criteria for turnaround-eligible schools found in HB 338 from the 2016 legislative session
  • More detailed information about how GaDOE plans to incorporate assessment innovation and flexibility as well as explicit commitment to apply for the Innovative Assessment Demonstration Pilot
  • Flexibility for districts from having to submit both a Comprehensive Needs Assessment and a District Improvement Plan
  • Moving the CCRPI Literacy indicators from being measured at the lowest bounds to the midpoint bounds in order to create a more ambitious and rigorous reading target for students

 

 

 

What Remains?

  • CCRPI Closing Gaps indicators that would give schools more credit for progress made with high poverty students, students with disabilities, and students learning to speak English
  • CCRPI Closing Gaps points for student attendance, art programs, music programs, physical education programs, CTAE programs, enrollment in AP and IB programs, and completion of career pathway programs
  • Superintendent Woods remained steadfast in his support for minimizing the volume of state assessments by rejecting Gov. Deal's recommendation to add high-stakes summative assessments to CCRPI calculations for children in grades K-2

 

 

What's Next?

 

GaDOE submitted Georgia's ESSA plan to the US Department of Education (USED) on Sept. 18. USED will conduct a peer review of Georgia's plan and will either approve the plan or recommend revisions. During the previous review process, some states did not receive feedback until several months after plans were submitted. After the plan is approved by the Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, states may a request to amend their plans. Due to the disagreement between the governor and the state school superintendent on critical aspects of Georgia's plan, this remains a possibility for Georgia.

 

 

 

Resources

Macon Telegraph article about disagreement over Georgia's plan

Letter from Gov. Deal

Richard Woods' response to Gov. Deal

PAGE statement on ESSA

ESSA information from the GaDOE

ESSA information from the US Department of Education


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