Statement on the U.S. Department of Education’s ESSA Regulations
WASHINGTON (November 28, 2016) — “The U.S. Department of Education’s regulations on the accountability, public reporting, and state plan provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provide the clarity and certainty that state and local leaders and advocates need to continue the important work of implementing the law that is already well underway. We strongly urge the next Administration to maintain these regulations to avoid unnecessary confusion, delay, or wasted time in state implementation.
“The final rule supports the work of state and local equity advocates by clarifying and reinforcing some of the equity levers in the law, including the requirement that all indicators in the accountability system be disaggregated by each group of students, so schools can’t sweep the performance of some students under the rug; the prioritization of academic outcomes, so the main purpose of schooling stays in focus; and attention to key resources, such as transparency on per-pupil expenditures and clear goals for achieving fairer teacher assignment.
“While the regulations clarify some of the law’s key provisions, they maintain the extensive flexibility that ESSA grants states in designing their accountability systems. Advocates will need to continue providing both pressure and support to states and districts in this work, and to be vigilant that states’ decisions ensure that:
- Accountability systems reflect how schools are doing for all groups of students;
- Any school that is not meeting expectations for one or more groups of students takes swift and meaningful steps to improve; and
- Families, communities, and the public get accessible and transparent information on how schools are doing for all groups of students.
“We will continue to support state and local advocates in their efforts to ensure that ESSA implementation decisions reflect the interests of low-income students, students of color, students with disabilities, and English learners. These regulations will be a valuable tool in that effort.”