Tennessee Department of Education
The Tennessee Department of Education has entered the “Writing the Plan” stage of the Every Student Succeeds Act plan set out in early May of this year. In early October TDOE released a status report detailing the work done so far on crafting the state plan. The report also puts forth the following major take aways from the Stakeholder Input stage from across the state.
- Align the ESSA state plan to the Tennessee Succeeds strategic plan in order to build on successes and continue to raise expectations and reach goals
- Start with our current accountability framework as the base for the system, and build the A-F grading system in alignment with the current framework.
- A well-rounded student should have access to learning experiences outside test subjects and opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities.
- Students should be prepared for college and career, and should have access to more career and technical education and early postsecondary opportunities.
- Students need comprehensive support for planning for college and careers.
- There is a need for additional services at schools to promote health, well being, and safety.
- Include some additional data reporting through “transparency metrics” that are not captured in the formal accountability system but that provide more insight to the success of schools/districts.
The report also identifies critical decision points of each phase of ESSA, and puts forth next steps through March of 2017.
The Tennessee Department of Education is expected to release the draft plan in early December. The state is required to have a public feedback period for gathering input on the plan for at least 30 days. The Tennessee Educational Equity Coalition is preparing to respond to the state’s draft law once released. Keep an eye out for action alerts in the coming weeks.
U.S. Department of Education
The U.S. Department of Education released non-regulatory guidance on early learning in the ESSA. The guidance is intended to remind states and local decision-makers about the importance of investing in early learning, highlight the opportunities available under the new law to strengthen early education, and provide examples of how states and local communities can support young children’s success in schools.
The guidance provides additional information on the positive impact of high-quality early learning, early learning in the ESSA, and investing in early education.
“Expanding High-quality early learning opportunities helps close achievement gaps because it gives all children—no matter their zip code—a strong start,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. “A high-quality early education can support social-emotional development and unlock a child’s potential, so that all children have the foundation they need to thrive in school and beyond.”
- Secretary of Education, John King
Tennessee Educational Equity Coalition
Members of the Tennessee Educational Equity Coalition attended The Education Trust’s ESSA Boot Camp in Houston, Texas October 20th-21st. The Boot Camp was a gathering of over 200 education advocates from 19 states working to advance issues of equity in state ESSA plans. This gathering was a continuation of the first ESSA Boot Camp which was hosted in Chicago, IL. While the first Boot Camp covered issues of accountability and the additional indicator, the second ESSA Boot Camp focused on school ratings and school improvement.