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What Does Good ESSA Outreach Look Like?

The Every Student Succeeds Act may put states in the driver's seat when it comes to accountability, teacher quality, and more,. But it also asks state leaders to do some serious "stakeholder engagement"—that's Washington-speak for substantial outreach—with local educators as they develop their plans.

Some states are already knee-deep in the "stakeholder engagement" process, while others are just getting started. To help guide their work, associations representing school administrators, school counselors, teachers, principals, and more that make up a group known as the Learning First Alliance have some ideas about what good stakeholder engagement should look like.

That list from the Learning First Alliance includes:

1)      Making sure the process involves give-and-take decision making;

2)      Allowing the process to go beyond just drafting and approving a plan;

3)      Be sustained overtime—in other words, states shouldn't just gather input and then go on their merry way;

4)      Picking representatives who are actually accountable to the group they are representing, such as a union president, who could get voted out if their membership doesn't think they are representing teachers fairly;

5)      Asking "stakeholders" up front for their ideas on the process, not just setting the policy;

6)      Keeping the process transparent and open the public;

You can check out the full list of recommendations from the Learning First Alliance. The organization includes the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education; AASA: The School Superintendents Association; the National PTA; the American Federation of Teachers; the National Education Association; the National School Boards Association; and more. 


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