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Tour of Ten Key ESSA Issues, From Teachers to Tests, Provided in New Report


Still studying up on important policy changes made by the Every Student Succeeds Act? The Education Commission of the States has put out short overviews of ten important issues that state education departments and others will face as they shift to the new federal education law. 

The ECS report touches on topics such as how to improve struggling schools, the thorny issue of testing opt-outs, and other matters. 

"The new law maintains many of the same basic components as past iterations, such as state plans and report cards, but the bipartisan bill also responds to many of the common complaints about NCLB by offering states greater flexibility and control over education policy," the ECS report states.

But it also makes it clear that there's still a ways to go before policymakers have total clarity on important issues. For example, the Education Department released proposed regulations for accountability and state plans under ESSA, but after public feedback, those draft rules could change significantly. 

Here are the ten issues ECS examines and what ESSA means for them:

• Assessment Flexibility
• Assessment Participation and Opt-Outs
• Innovation Assessment Pilot
• Indicators of School Quality or Student Success
• English Learners and Accountability
• Supporting Low-Performing Schools
• Teachers and School Leaders
• Title I's Supplement-Not-Supplant Provision
• Title IV - 21st Century Schools
• State Plans

On the Politics K-12 blog and elsewhere, we've covered pretty much all of these topics, including the assessment pilot (subject to recently proposed regulations from the U.S. Department of Education), the big block grant subject to congressional budget wrangling under Title IV, and indicators of school quality or student success

And mercifully for those of us who often resort to (but also yearn to avoid) acronyms, ECS has included an easy guide to terms like "CAT" (computer-adaptive assessment), "SQSS" (school quality and student success), and others. 

Previously, ECS put out a report focusing on "well-rounded education" and what it now means under ESSA.

This most recent ECS report was written by Emily WorkmanJulie Rowland WoodsMicah Ann WixomMichael Griffith, and Stephanie Aragon. Read the full report below: 

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