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Betsy DeVos OKs ESSA Plans for California, Utah


U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos green-lighted California and Utah's plans to implement the Every Student Succeed Act. That means just one state is still waiting for DeVos' approval: Florida. (More on that state's plan here.)

California is not planning to give schools an overall rating, such as an "A" or an "excellent." Instead, the state will examine a broad range of factors, including test-scores, graduation rates, discipline data, and locally-selected indicators, through a color-coded dashboard. The department had questions about this approach, particularly about how the state would identify the lowest-performing schools and those with big achievement gaps between groups of students.

And DeVos herself took a jab at California's system, without mentioning it by name, in a speech to the Council of Chief State School Officers in March. She said the state "took a simple concept like a color-coded dashboard and managed to make it nearly indecipherable."

Utah, which has seen a drop in test-participation rates, negotiated with the department on the opt-out portion of the law, which requires schools to somehow address participation rates below 95 percent. The Beehive State will consider college- and career-readiness and science proficiency in rating its schools.

Video: ESSA Explained in 3 Minutes


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