NCSL (National Conference of State Legislatures) sent a summary of the Every Student Succeeds Act and I thought I would share it with all of you. It breaks down the ESSA highlighting important parts of the legislation.
The House of Representatives passed a compromise bill – the Every Student Succeeds Act – by a bipartisan vote of 359-64. The Senate will vote on this next week and they will most likely pass this bill. This has been a long time coming. No Child Left Behind left us with labeling our schools, over testing our students, setting goals of obtaining 100% proficiency by certain dates and evaluating our teachers using test scores. No Child Left Behind did the opposite of what was the original intent of the bill; NCLB left many students behind. While teachers were teaching to an unrealistic test, teachers could not focus on the individual child, they lost control of their classrooms and the feds and the state dictated what teachers needed to do in order to be successful in their classrooms instead of letting teachers do what they already knew, how to teach our students!
I am happy that this bill has passed the House and we will have more local control, my question is how will our state use their new control? We already know what is needed here in Delaware and what is lacking in our classrooms; additional resources to address poverty, more resources in special education, especially kindergarten through 3rd grades, and funding for our ELL students. We know how important it is for our children to be able to read proficiency by third grade. We know how important it is for our children to have excellent early learning opportunities. I am hopeful our state will provide these things.
I read the Delaware Online article this morning about “Rare consensus in Delaware over federal education reform,” click here to read. In the article the Governor’s Office provided a statement. In the statement it states the following:
“The Every Student Succeeds Act preserves some of the most important elements of our existing system, including annual testing requirements in 3rd-8th grade and in high school, which ensure that every student counts,” the statement said. “We would have liked to see stronger requirements for timely intervention in schools where students are struggling, but overall, the Every Student Succeeds Act is an important step forward that will give states more flexibility to meet their students’ needs.”
The last sentence where the Governor’s Office noted they would have liked to have seen stronger requirements for timely intervention in schools where students are struggling. Honesty, we do not need the Feds placing requirements on us. We, as a state, can provide timely intervention by providing the necessary resources that we need -ELL funding, Basic Special Education funding for our students kindergarten through 3rd grades where the students need to be developing their reading skills to become proficient readers and finally addressing our students of poverty. This is what needs to be done. I will be listening closely to the Governor’s State of the State and I am hopeful these very important funding items will be mentioned and funded in the Governor’s proposed budget.
I am hopeful Delaware will take this opportunity to do what is needed and has been needed for many years provide the necessary resources needed to make sure all our students are successful.
I attended the Accountability Framework Working Group (AFWG) meeting on September 23rd from 1:30 to 4:45. I was the only member of the public present. The working group is made up of school/district members, a DSEA member, a parent member and a State Board member. The group is responsible for developing and recommending a new, multiple measure accountability system called Delaware School Success Framework. It does concern me that the State Board has a seat on this group and my reason for my concern is the State Board ultimately will approve these recommendations.
The AFWG was to finalize their recommendations at this last meeting, they could not come to an agreement on a rating system, so another meeting is scheduled. Most members do not support the use of ANY rating system other than what is federally required and most members do not agree with the federal mandates either. Most members of this group are outraged that we continue to label our schools causing damage that takes years to undo and the lack of support they receive after being branded as failures.
The AFWG recommendations must be completed before October 6th Delaware Education Support System (DESS) Advisory Council meeting. DESS is the stakeholder group which is to provide guidance on the overall Delaware Education Support System, guidance on enhancements to the Education Success Planning and Evaluation System, guidance on Title 1 Implementation and recommend changes to the Accountability Workbook and focus on Professional Development. You will see the DESS Advisory Council mentioned throughout Delaware’s ESEA Flex Waiver.
DESS Advisory and NCLB Stakeholders merged back in May of 2010. Our new Secretary of Education, Steve Godowsky, was a member of this group (New Castle County Votech) and was chair of the council in July of 2010.
The recommendations from AFWG must be to the State Board by October 15th. The State Board of Education will vote on the recommendations and then the recommendations must be presented to US DOE by the end of October.
- AFWG members want to know what supports will be in place before recommending ratings.
- They want a rating system in place that is least damaging to schools.
- Members are against 1 to 100 scale.
- One member stated that the A through F ratings system is like a restaurant rating system.
- Members commented on how they could send final recommendations to the State Board and how the State Board/Secretary could overturn their recommendations.
- Members commented that Secretary Murphy did exactly that. The lowest performing schools were to be selected as priority schools. Secretary Murphy did not select the lowest performing schools, he selected the schools he wanted as priority schools.
- Members commented that the US DOE Accountability System is just a NAME and BLAME game.
Items that have been agreed to:
- Proposed 5/6 Year Graduation Calculation
- Accounting for Significant Gaps
- Option 2 – gap between student gap group and non student gap group performance is greater than the state average gap.
- Participation Rate must be included in the accountability system, this is a federal requirement.
- No school under 95% participation may receive a highest performance rating. The group selected this one, they selected the one that is least destructive.