NewsEvery Student Succeeds Act  

This Week’s ESSA News: How States View Struggling Schools, Polling Principals on Concerns About the New Law, Tennessee PTA Lands Grant to Empower Parents on School Report Cards & More

By Erika Ross | May 27, 2019

This update on the Every Student Succeeds Act and the education plans now being implemented by states and school districts is produced in partnership with ESSA Essentials, an ongoing series from the Collaborative for Student Success. It’s an offshoot of their ESSA Advance newsletter, which you can sign up for here! (See our recent ESSA updates from previous weeks right here.)

States are now required under ESSA to “publish school-level spending data in report cards.” In this new infographic, the Data Quality Campaign seeks to “illustrate what it looks like when leaders — from state and local policymakers to principals and community advocates — use school-level spending data in their roles to ensure successful, well-resourced classrooms.”

According to DQC, school spending information “shines a light on the education investments in communities and how they are used to serve students.” School spending data can assist local leaders in making informed decisions about how resources will be allocated in the schools that need them the most, as well as how they can be used to improve the learning outcomes of those students.

See below for more ESSA news.

ESSA & low-performing schools

Much of ESSA “deals with schools struggling to meet expectations,” reports Andrew Ujifusa in Education Week. “And we have new information concerning just how many of them are being tagged as needing improvement” under ESSA.

Ujifusa notes that there is a lot of variation by state. A new report from the Center on Education Policy takes a state-by-state look at how many schools have been flagged for comprehensive support and improvement, targeted support and improvement, or additional targeted support and improvement under the federal law. “The share of schools getting each one of those labels can vary dramatically from state to state,” says Ujifusa. “In Florida, for example, 69 percent of schools fell into one of those buckets, while in Maryland, just 3 percent of schools have received one of the labels so far.”

Principals & ESSA concerns

Also in Education Week, Denisa R. Superville takes a look at a recent MCH Strategic Data survey that finds that the “issues that weigh heavily on principals’ minds remained more or less the same.” However, this year, “the level of concern on the principals’ part shifted in some cases” to issues such as ESSA and technology.

In comparison to previous years, “principals said they were less anxious about how the Every Student Succeeds Act will affect them and that they were confident about their knowledge of the 2015 law, with about 70 percent of principals saying they believed they had a strong grasp of how ESSA will affect school funding.”

Tennessee PTA gets grant to better inform parents about school report cards

According to The Chattanoogan, the National PTA has awarded five states, including its Tennessee affiliate, grants to help inform parents about school report cards and “empower them to advocate to ensure this data is accessible, transparent and actionable.”

ESSA “requires school districts and states to annually release a school report card, which includes important information about school environment, demographics and performance on the state, local and school level.” This data, however, “doesn’t always speak for itself,” said Jim Accomando, president of the National PTA. “We are pleased to provide Tennessee PTA with resources to empower parents to read, interpret and take action to turn school report cards into results for their child’s school.”

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