In a column for the Union Leader, Scott Sargrad, managing director of K-12 Education Policy team at the Center for American Progress, urged New Hampshire parents, teachers, and community members to engage in the state’s planning process as it develops a plan to comply with the new federal education law. Here’s an excerpt:
Since the Every Student Succeeds Act’s (ESSA) passage, states have been working to create new “accountability plans” that detail how states will identify and support struggling schools and districts, and help students make progress toward demanding learning standards.
State education agencies are much more than one plan, but states have an important opportunity to lay out their vision for educating all students. And it starts with their plan for how they will hold schools and districts accountable, and how they will use that system to drive student learning. In fact, none of this improvement happens if states simply create ESSA plans that check boxes they believe the U.S. Department of Education is looking for.
New Hampshire assembled a task force to develop the state’s plan, and gathered input from department officials, state legislators and community members from public hearings. New Hampshire has joined 33 others in submitting plans for federal review, doing so before the Sept. 18 deadline.
Fortunately, waiting until the September deadline to submit its plan puts New Hampshire at an advantage. The state had the benefit of being able to review best practices in the 17 state plans submitted earlier this year…
ESSA provides a great opportunity for states to improve not only how they hold schools and districts accountable for success, but also improve their whole education system for all students. States should make sure they focus on supporting schools, not just measuring and labeling them. And they should consider strategies to modernize and elevate the teaching profession as part of their new vision. In doing so, schools will improve and students will succeed.
I urge everyone who has a stake in New Hampshire’s education system to encourage state education officials to review and implement the best practices and push for a plan that leads to a better education for all children.