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Ed Trust Has Advice for Secretary King on ESSA Accountability Regulations

The number one thing that advocates, education wonks, and reporters are watching this spring: How will the U.S. Department of Education decide to regulate on accountability for the Every Student Succeeds Act?

Proposed regulations are expected in coming weeks and months—the Education Department has already sent them to the Office of Management and Budget for review. Once they're out, everyone will get a chance to comment and the Education Department can make changes based on that feedback—or not.

In the meantime, though, Education Trust, which looks out for poor and minority students, has some thoughts about what it would like to see emphasized, including:

Ensure states consider their student achievement goals when deciding which schools need help working with subgroups of students.

ESSA, as you may remember, requires schools with "consistently low-performing subgroups" to come up with a plan to fix the problem, monitored by the district. Ed Trust wants to make sure that states call for action in any school where any subgroup—like English-language learners—is behind the eight ball, even if the rest of the school is performing well. And they want states to think beyond just schools with big achievement gaps, and consider any school with iffy subgroup performance.

Make it clear that states have to come up with one "summative" rating for their schools.

Some states, including California and Kentucky, want to create a "dashboard" rating system for schools, which include data on a number of different factors, but don't have some sort of score or judgement for the school as a whole. It's unclear right now if this is kosher for federal accountability under ESSA. Ed Trust also wants to make sure these "summative" overall ratings consider how each subgroup of students is doing when it comes to both academic and school quality indicators. (Under ESSA, states have to include both in their accountability systems.)

More in this letter, which the organization sent to U.S. Secretary of Education John King Monday. 

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