Secretary DeVos Announces New Student-Centered Funding Pilot Program

Washington — U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today announced new flexibility for school districts to create equitable, student-centered funding systems under a pilot program authorized by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

“This is a great opportunity for local district leaders to put students first,” said Secretary DeVos. “Instead of relying on complex federal rules to allocate funds, local leaders can use this flexibility to match funds—local, State or Federal—to the needs of students.”

The flexibility will allow school districts to combine eligible Federal funds with State and local funds in order to allocate resources to schools based on the number of students and the corresponding level of need. This type of system, often called “student-centered funding” or “weighted student funding”, is widely considered to be a modern, transparent and quantifiable way to allocate resources to the students most in need.

Full story at ed.gov

Concerns Mount Over K-12 Education Plans

As states cement education plans for their schools under the federal K-12 law, the Department of Education is working furiously to assess them amid mounting concerns about states’ commitment to following the law, their proposals to ensure historically disadvantaged students have access to quality education, and the department’s capacity – and in some cases, lack of desire – to police it all.

The Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, gives states new flexibility to create accountability systems that suit their unique needs. Those plans must be vetted and cleared by the Department of Education before states begin implementing them in the near future.

The process has been somewhat tumultuous, triggering concern from across the education spectrum about how Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and department officials would review each submission.

Full story at US News

States Struggle to Define ‘Ineffective Teachers’ Under ESSA

Teacher evaluations—both their role and the mechanics of carrying them out—are a politically fraught subject, and the Every Student Succeeds Act has kicked the dust up once again as states wrestle with how to comply with teacher-quality sections of the new law.

ESSA, which goes into effect this fall, does away with the “highly qualified teacher” mandates under its predecessor, the No Child Left Behind Act. It also bans the U.S. secretary of education from dictating the ways in which states grade their teachers, a sore spot under the NCLB law.

At the same time, ESSA requires states to provide a single definition of “ineffective teachers” in the plans they submit to the federal government and then describe how they will ensure that poor and minority students aren’t being taught by a disproportionate number of them.

Full story of the ineffective teachers under ESSA at edweek.org

Are you ready to be engaged in education?

“With [ESSA], we reaffirm that fundamentally American ideal—that every child, regardless of race, income, background, the zip code where they live, deserves the chance to make of their lives what they will.” — President Barack Obama

On December 10, 2015, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act, reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), our national education law and longstanding commitment to equal opportunity for all students.  In developing plans and implementing ESSA, stakeholder engagement – including parents – plays a crucial role in improving student outcomes in our schools.

Family engagement is crucial at the national, state and, particularly, local level where you can make a difference in your child’s school and classroom.

Full story of engaging in education with ESSA at ed.gov

Education Department Releases Final Regulations to Promote a High-Quality, Well-Rounded Education and Support All Students

After considering and incorporating extensive feedback from stakeholders across the education system and the public, the U.S. Department of Education today announced final regulations to implement the accountability, data reporting, and state plan provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), with a focus on supporting states in using their flexibility to provide a high-quality, well-rounded education, and ensure equity remains at the core of implementation. The regulations will help states, districts and educators seize the opportunity ESSA provides to ensure a high-quality, well-rounded education that sets every student in America up for success in college and career.

The Department greatly appreciates the many productive comments and suggestions from parents, teachers, school leaders, district and state officials, members of Congress, civil rights organizations, and others throughout the regulatory process. The final regulations issued today reflect much of that input.

Full story of final regulations released to support students at ed.gov

U.S. Department of Education Releases Guidance on English Learners

The U.S. Department of Education today released non-regulatory guidance to help states, districts and schools provide effective services to improve the English language proficiency and academic achievement of English learners (ELs) through Title III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The guidance is an effort to ensure that students who are English learners receive the high-quality services they need to be college and career ready.

“In too many places across the country, English learners get less access to quality teachers, less access to advanced coursework, and less access to the resources they need to succeed. Together, we can change that reality,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. “Under the Every Student Succeeds Act, we have an opportunity to give students the gift of bilingualism and of multilingualism so they are prepared for college and career with a better sense of themselves, their community, their future, and a better appreciation for our diversity as a country.”

Full story on the non-regulatory guidance on English learners at ed.gov

U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services Release Joint Guidance on Foster Youth

The U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today released guidance to states, school districts and child welfare agencies on the new provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) for supporting children in foster care. The guidance aims to assist state and local partners in understanding and implementing the new law, and to inform state and local collaboration between educational and child welfare agencies across the nation for the well-being of children in foster care. The guidance is the first the Department of Education is releasing regarding provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act, in the coming weeks and months to help states, districts and schools as the implement the new law. In addition, the Education Department is also releasing a letter to states and districts stressing the importance and utility of stakeholder engagement as they begin to transition to ESSA.

Over the past several months, the Education Department hosted over 200 meetings with stakeholders from across the country, including parents and teachers, school leaders, state and district officials, tribes, and civil rights groups on a number of issues. The most notable dialogue centered on the equity and excellence goals of ESSA, and how to protect the civil rights of students. The guidance released today has been informed by promising practices from states and districts, as well as input from many and diverse stakeholders consulted during the development of the resource.

Full story of ED and HHS release joint guidance on foster youth at ed.gov

Proposed ESSA Regulation Supports Well-Rounded Education, Protects All Students

In a major step toward implementing the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and providing important clarity for parents, students, and educators about the new law, U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. today announced proposed regulations to implement the law’s accountability, data reporting, and state plan provisions. The regulations would replace the narrow, one-size-fits-all approach that defined ESSA’s predecessor, No Child Left Behind (NCLB), with new flexibility for states and districts; a more holistic approach to measuring a quality education that will help prepare all students for success; and strong protections to ensure the progress of all students. It also reinforces ESSA’s strong commitment to transparency and ensures meaningful engagement and an active role for parents, teachers, students, community leaders, and other stakeholders in implementing the new law. The proposed regulations themselves were informed by extensive input from a diverse group of stakeholders. The Department of Education (Department) participated in well over 100 meetings and events and received hundreds of public comments prior to the release of the regulations. The Department will encourage additional feedback on the proposal from parents, teachers, and other stakeholders through the public comment period, and looks forward to receiving suggestions for improvements to the proposed regulations.

“These regulations give states the opportunity to work with all of their stakeholders, including parents, and educators to protect all students’ right to a high-quality education that prepares them for college and careers, including the most vulnerable students,” Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. said. “They also give educators room to reclaim for all of their students the joy and promise of a well-rounded educational experience.”

Full story of proposed ESSA regulation at ed.gov

U.S. Department of Education Marks the Success of Investing in Innovation (i3), and Launches Seventh and Final i3 Competition

This week, the U.S. Department of Education launched the seventh and final Investing in Innovation (i3) Development competition. Educators working with school districts, nonprofits and partner organizations can apply for grant awards up to $3 million by May 24, 2016. Later this year, the Department will announce the i3 Validation and Scale-up competitions for applicants with more rigorous evidence supporting their proposed projects. In 2017, the new Education Innovation and Research program, established by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), will replace i3 as the Department’s signature program for driving innovation and scaling evidence-based practices.

“We are proud to support innovative educators that are helping every student learn, grow and achieve their full potential,” said Nadya Chinoy Dabby, assistant deputy secretary for innovation and improvement. “Across the country, we have seen how innovation in education can close gaps in opportunity, and change the academic and life trajectories of underserved students.”

Full story of seventh and final i3 competition at ed.gov

Education Department Releases Proposals for Consideration by ESSA Negotiated Rulemaking Committee

The U.S. Department of Education sent proposals today to the committee working on proposed regulations for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The proposals focus on the issues being negotiated: Title I, Part A assessments, and the requirement that federal Title I-A funds supplement, not supplant, state and local resources.

The proposals are in response to input from negotiators given during the committee’s first three-day session in March. The committee meets again this week from April 6-8.

“These proposals are part of the important work this committee is doing to ensure the law is implemented smoothly and with a focus on the most vulnerable students, consistent with the law’s purpose,” said Ann Whalen, senior advisor to the Secretary, delegated the duties of the assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education. “We look forward to continuing to work with the committee to promote equity and excellence for all students by providing states and school districts with timely regulations so that they can plan ahead to support students and educators.”

Full story of regulation proposals the Every Student Succeeds Act at ed.gov