An Update on What You Need to Know about ESSA
In 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was implemented, replacing the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). Due to the rapid transition from NCLB to ESSA, it is important for educators and vendors to be aware of the key differences between the two. Steve Rowley, CEO of Acumen Partners, with Michael Campbell, Vice President of Acumen Partners, presented the latest updates on ESSA in the webinar, “Making Sense of ESSA: What You Need to Know,” co-hosted by edWeb.net and MCH Strategic Data.
With this new law, the federal government has acknowledged that many decisions belong at the state level. States will now be responsible for accountability, and each state will have to submit their own accountability plan to be peer reviewed. “I can’t stress enough…find your state accountability plan and become very familiar with it,” said Steve. While there is no designated area for locating each state accountability plan, Steve recommends becoming familiar with your state education agency’s website and keeping a lookout for announcements of things like requests for comment and draft plans.
Accountability systems will be put in place to track and implement the accountability plans established by each state. These systems involve four primary indicators: proficiency on state tests; English language proficiency; another academic factor that can be broken out by subgroup; and a “wild card” item that each state can choose within certain guidelines. States can also set additional benchmarks. These may allow for certain high school benchmarks which would not apply to elementary or middle schools, for example. Each state must be aware of how to accurately track their benchmarks.
Steve also addressed any confusion regarding the Common Core State Standards. ESSA did not replace the Common Core State Standards, and although the states are required to have standards, it prohibits the Department of Education from forcing the adoption of a particular set of standards. “This is a question that we receive a lot,” he said. Since the Common Core is not a federal initiative, it is unaffected by ESSA.
Finally, what does the new administration mean for education? ESSA lays out accountabilities that must be tracked by technology and data systems. Because of this, there is going to be a lot of pressure for funding for infrastructure development and improvement. States are also likely to take more of a lead role in determining their own outcomes in education, while the Department of Education will act as a facilitator.
This article was modified and published by eSchool News.
About the Presenters
With more than 20 years of experience in business management, Steve Rowley, CEO of Acumen Partners, has had an illustrious career at the crossroads of business and education. Prior to igniting the flame that grew to be Acumen Partners in 2012, Steve engaged in principal leadership positions in leading organizations including Pearson, McGraw Hill, Master Teacher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and EdLights. His knowledge and experience in the education sector are unrivalled. He utilizes his experience to decode and resolve problem areas, meet the challenges of an ever-changing market and empower others irrespective of the industry. Prior to embarking on his mission to help his clients realize their own success through work at Acumen, and other educational solution companies, Steve obtained his B.S. in economics from Brigham Young University in 1994. He was a Wright Leadership Fellow and enjoyed being a member of the BYU marching band.
Michael Campbell’s passion for improving education through technology and digital literacy has facilitated private and not-for-profit organizations solutions support for the learning community. For over 20 years, Michael has held executive, marketing management and sales positions spanning the K-12, higher education, corporate training, technology and publishing industries. Currently Michael is the vice president of client development at Acumen Partners. Michael has held leadership positions in sales and marketing with Learning Bird, Forward Thinking EDU, Follett Software Company, ETA hand2mind, Pearson, Cengage and McGraw-Hill Higher Education. In his spare time Michael enjoys volunteering at his daughter’s school district’s PTO as a member of their executive board, and supporting the Fox River Grove Memorial Public Library as a trustee and officer of the board.
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