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How Does School Climate Figure Into State ESSA Plans?

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Welcome to another edition of Answering Your ESSA Questions, where we try to demystify the Every Student Succeeds Act. Our next question comes from an anonymous reader.

Question: How many states are including "school climate" in their ESSA accountability systems?

Answer: Not as many as you might think. ESSA told states they had to pick an indicator of school quality or student success to measure alongside test scores. Most states picked either chronic absenteeism and/or college and career readiness. At least four states say they are incorporating "school climate" specifically into school ratings, including Illinois (which is measuring climate through surveys), Maryland (which is also using surveys), Montana (where school climate is part of a broader measure of "program quality" that also includes reducing behavior issues, and increasing engagement) and New Mexico (which is gauging school climate through "Opportunity to Learn" surveys.)

Two other states—California and Ohio—are looking at school discipline data. And Rhode Island and Tennessee are specifically looking at suspensions.

For more, check out our inside look at state ESSA plans. 

Got an ESSA question? Email us at [email protected] or [email protected] Or tweet at us @PoliticsK12.

Want to see what other readers are wondering? Here are links to past installments of this feature:

How Does Science Testing Work Under ESSA?

How Do State ESSA Plans Handle Mental Health?

What's New for Children in Foster Care Under ESSA? 

What's the Toughest Part of ESSA For District Leaders?

How Does Funding For ESSA's Testing Requirements Work?

Does ESSA Require Teachers to Be Highly Qualified?

Can Districts Use ESSA Funds to Buy Crossing Guard Signs? 

How Are States Handling Testing Opt-Outs Under ESSA?

Can Districts Use the SAT or ACT for School Accountability Without State OK?

Which States Are Eschewing School Grades?

How Can Districts and States Use ESSA to Bolster STEM and Computer Science?

What's Going on With Testing Audits?

What's Up With ESSA Block Grant Funding?

Is Testing the Only Way a Student Can Achieve Success Under ESSA?

Want to learn more about the Every Student Succeeds Act? Here's some useful information:

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