Policymaker’s Guide to Understanding Your State’s ESSA Plan & ReviewsBy: Casey Wyant Remer
In December 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act, now known most commonly by the acronym ESSA, was signed into law—ushering in what many saw as a new era of state-led accountability for schools. In the two years that followed, state leaders, educators, and other stakeholders convened across the country to consider the shifts from No Child Left Behind and craft state plans that met the requirements of the new law.
Now, all of those plans have been submitted and reviewed, and 35 have been approved by the U.S. Department of Education. As state energy shifts from plan development to implementation, it would be easy for ESSA to fade away, becoming an exercise in compliance only noted by those at the state department of education—another education acronym on a shelf. It is critical that state leaders and policymakers recognize that approval should not mark the end of their engagement. Instead, they should seize the opportunity to explore the final plans and to continue the conversations that have been started to ensure that their state’s accountability systems continue to evolve and provide equitable opportunities and outcomes for students.
To aid in this process, The Hunt Institute has created an interactive worksheet to walk you through some of the key components of your state’s plan and some of the major reviews done by different organizations. This worksheet is intended to help state-level policymakers and other stakeholders begin to dive into the details of their state ESSA plans and provide a place to note thoughts, concerns, and ideas. We hope this document is a useful roadmap to drive continued reflection and engagement around state ESSA plans.
CASEY WYANT REMER
Director, Policy and Research