Proposed Legislation in W. Va., Kentucky Could Dramatically Alter ESSA Plans
Two fast-moving bills aim to alter the look of the accountability plans under the Every Students Succeeds Act for both Kentucky and West Virginia.
This has been a critical year for state legislatures and education as many lawmakers use their sessions to take advantage of newfound flexibilities under ESSA. States with new state superintendents or governors are seeing some of the biggest changes as they look to fulfill campaign promises or break away from their predecessors' education agendas.
In West Virginia, Jim Justice, the recently elected Democratic governor, last week proposed Senate Bill 420 which would, among other things, pull the state out of the Smarter Balanced testing consortium, limit testing, and get rid of school and district letter grades.
"West Virginia's students and teachers are being crushed by a boulder of bureaucracy in Charleston," Justice said, according to local media reports. "Our local school districts and parents have lost control of what's going on in the classroom. My plan will transform our public schools into a world-class education system that gives all of our students a shot at success and allows our teachers the freedom to teach."
Superintendent Michael J. Martirano, whose tenure ends this summer, told me that pending the governor's proposed bill and regulations yet to be sent from the U.S. Department of Education, he's placed on hold his department making any major decisions regarding the ESSA plan and will likely turn in the plan in September, rather than April, as it had previously intended.