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New York, Pennsylvania Cite ESSA Planning Progress

The state education agencies in New York and Pennsylvania this week announced that they are narrowing the focus for their ESSA plans after receiving feedback from the public. 

Pennsylvania's department said Tuesday that members of the public told them to, among other things, rely less on test scores to hold schools accountable, to improve the teacher professional development and evaluation systems, and to reduce the amount of time students spend taking tests. The department will review all of the feedback, which was compiled by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) and incorporate it into the state's ESSA plan, due to the U.S. Department of Education next spring.  

New York's education department Monday came out with "high-level concepts" for its ESSA plans that officials will flesh out in the coming months.  Among the concepts, the state said it will reduce testing, develop strategies to increase student participation on state tests, and give extra credit for schools that have students performing at advanced or college level.  

We've written before about states gathering feedback, an arduous weeks-long process that can involve thousands of educators, parents, politicians and business leaders. States' challenge now is taking that feedback and turning it into policy. 

My colleague Andrew Ujifusa recently profiled states that have released entire drafts of their plans. Many of those states are hoping to get their plans completed before next year's legislative sessions start so that politicians can vet them before governors sign off.  

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