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Planning for Progress: States Reflect on Year One Implementation of ESSA

Author(s): Diane Stark Rentner, Matthew Frizzell, and Nancy Kober
Published: December 11, 2017

Based on a fall 2017 survey of officials from 45 state education agencies, this report highlights early state efforts to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act.  The report highlights states’ views on ESSA’s shift in control from the federal government to states and school districts regarding accountability and school improvement activities; stakeholder involvement in state plan development; state capacity to implement ESSA requirements; and the U.S. Department of Education’s assistance in implementing ESSA. The report also addresses the impact of the proposed elimination of Title II-A funding, and support among states for a federal private school voucher program using ESSA funds.

Download files:

Report (PDF format, 909 KB)

Special Report: Direct Student Services (PDF format, 112 KB)

Appendix (PDF format, 56.7 KB)

Press Release (PDF format, 176 KB)

Figure 1. Does ESSA represent a shift in control from the federal government to state and local education agencies? If so, is the shift a positive, neutral, or negative development? (JPG format, 657 KB)

Figure 2. Has the state education agency workload increased under ESSA? (JPG format, 620 KB)

Figure 3. Is the amount of written ESSA guidance from the current U.S. Department of Education adequate? (JPG format, 627 KB)

Figure 4. Is the written ESSA guidance from the current U.S. Department of Education helpful? (JPG format, 616 KB)

Figure 5. Has your SEA reached out to the current U.S. Department of Education for assistance in implementing ESSA? (JPG format, 619 KB)

Figure 6. Do you anticipate any aspects of ESSA will prove challenging to implement? (JPG format, 615 KB)

Figure 7. Does your SEA have sufficient federal funding to carry out ESSA’s administrative and programmatic duties? If not, how will your SEA make up the shortfall? (JPG format, 663 KB)

Figure 8. Does ESSA provide sufficient flexibility to design an accountability system that addresses your state’s unique context? (JPG format, 625 KB)

Figure 9. Does ESSA provide sufficient flexibility to determine interventions for low-performing schools? (JPG format, 608 KB)

Figure 10. How will your state determine interventions for CSI schools that fail to improve in a specified time? (JPG format, 655 KB)

Figure 11. How well do SEA staff who support school improvement understand ESSA’s evidence-based intervention requirements? (JPG format, 632 KB)

Figure 12. Will your state set targets for aggregate time for administering assessments? (JPG format, 620 KB)

Figure 13. Are state-developed or consortium assessments being used by the state’s higher education system for admissions and/or course placement (JPG format, 629 KB)

Figure 14. Would your SEA apply to participate in a federal private school voucher program supported with ESSA funding> (JPG format, 627 KB)

Table 1. Does your state educational agency have sufficient capacity to carry out ESSA school improvement requirements? (JPG format, 435 KB)

Table 2. Does your state educational agency have sufficient capacity to measure and report on ESSA’s accountability indicators? (JPG format, 271 KB)

Table 3. Does your state educational agency have sufficient capacity to carry out other ESSA requirements? (JPG format, 290 KB)

Table 4. Which ESSA responsibilities are being carried out by external providers in your state? (JPG format, 284 KB)

Table 5. How does your state plan to support district efforts to improve low-performing schools? (JPG format, 322 KB)

Table 6. To what extent is your state experiencing challenges in meeting ESSA report card requirements? (JPG format, 586 KB)

Table 7. What steps has your state taken to make report cards more accessible to parents, families, and other audiences (JPG format, 250 KB)

Table 8. What changes is your state planning to make to its assessment system in the next three years? (JPG format, 326 KB)

Table 9. How many states are planning to reduce the frequency or length or eliminate state-mandated exams other than math and ELA exams? (JPG format, 234 KB)

Table 10. Will your state establish technical criteria for school districts to use a nationally recognized high school assessment? (JPG format, 198 KB)

Table 11. Which aspects of ESSA stakeholder engagement did states find helpful? (JPG format, 170 KB)

Table 12. How does your state plan to continue engaging stakeholders in modifications of the state ESSA plan? (JPG format, 301 KB)

Table 13. Are you aware of efforts among stakeholder groups to actively monitor state and local implementation of ESSA? (JPG format, 193 KB)

Table 14. Which stakeholder groups are mobilizing to monitor ESSA implementation? (JPG format, 150 KB)

Table 15. From which entities has your state sought and received technical assistance in developing the state plan? (JPG format, 234 KB)

Table 16. To what extent would the elimination of Title II-A funds present a challenge in carrying out educator-related activities? (JPG format, 288 KB)


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