November 28, 2016(1)

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AASA Executive Director Dan Domenech Statement on ESSA Accountability Regulations

AASA Executive Director Daniel A. Domenech released the following statement in response to the U.S. Education Department releasing its final rule on the accountability provisions within the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA): 

"Today’s final rule on the accountability provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act is a solid improvement over the initial proposal and brings the regulations much more in line with the intent and spirit of the underlying statute. It is clear the Department of Education listened carefully to the overwhelming feedback they received in response to the proposed rule and revised their first draft to more closely reflect the insight, expertise and feedback of education practitioners—including public school superintendents—across the nation. As we move forward with ESSA implementation and into the new year and new Congress, AASA remains committed to working with Congress and the new administration to make sure additional ESSA implementation resources are equally committed to state and local leadership and flexibility, as well as broader education policies prioritizing the strengthening and support of our nation’s public schools.”

You can read further analysis on the regulation on the AASA policy blog.

November 28, 2016


Post-Turkey Education Update: Sec of Ed, ESSA Regs, and Funding

Nothing says ‘Welcome back from the long holiday weekend!’ like the information in this blog post. Depending on your perspective, we could be thankful the final ESSA regulations weren’t dropped before the long weekend, or we could wallow in a write up that makes an already long Monday feel all the more ‘Monday’. But I digress.

Three things to flag for you from an advocacy update perspective: 

  • ESSA Regulations: Today, USED released its final regulations on ESSA accountability. We are still combing through the 300 page document. Here are some quick takeaways: Press Release, Summary, School Improvement Timelines, and the full text of the final regulations.
  • All three of our biggest concerns were addressed: the proposed requirement for a single summative indicator, the timeline for identification and the transportation of foster children provision.
    • The final regulation rescinds the initial proposed requirement of a single summative indicator. States can use the ratings in ESSA (including comprehensive improvement and targeted support) as their summative ratings, without being required to have a single, overall number or letter grade.
    • The proposed regulations required states to ID schools in need of improvement at the start of the 2017-18 school year. That has been delayed one year; the final regulation requires the identification for the 2018-19 school year. The timeline for accountability workbook submission has also changed. States will still have two options, but they are now April3 and September 18, 2017 (as opposed to the originally proposed March and July timelines).
    • The final regulations remove the language that requires LEAs to provide transportation to children in foster care if the LEA and child welfare agency do not agree on who will pay the additional costs associated with providing this transportation. This important change brings the final regulation into much closer alignment with the underlying statute. 
    • As a refresher, you can read AASA’s full set of formal comments to the proposed accountability regulations.
  • Secretary of Education: President Elect Donald Trump has selected his education secretary, and will nominate Betsy DeVos. There’s not much for us to say that you probably didn’t piece together from extensive media coverage over the weekend. Here are a few sample pieces:
  • AASA is neutral on the nomination. As a non-partisan professional association, we are committed to working with the Secretary of Education, the President and Congress regardless of their political affiliation. We will watch closely to ensure that the Secretary uses her position and opportunity for leadership to move policy that strengthens the nation’s public schools and we will remain diligent on key AASA policies, which include opposition to vouchers, ensuring that all entities receiving public dollars (including charter schools) are subject to the same accountability, transparency and reporting requirements, and that equity is at the center of all policy decisions.
  • Continuing Resolution: The current CR runs through December 9, meaning Congress has just over a week to adopt another fiscal policy to avoid a federal shutdown. At this point, they are working toward another short term continuing regulation, set to run through March 31. Republican leaders may try to wrap up the entire lame duck session by December 8, and have everyone out of town.