ESSA implementation moves forward in Pennsylvania
Fifteen educators named to ESSA stakeholder work groups
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), signed into law by President Obama in December 2015, shifts several areas of education policy authority back to states, and requires each state to seek stakeholder input and submit a plan for ESSA implementation to the U.S. Dept. of Education.
As part of this process, the PA Dept. of Education named four stakeholder work groups to explore four key areas of ESSA. Members of the stakeholder groups include educators, school nurses, administrators, policy experts, and community leaders from across the state.
"These work groups reflect one of PSEA's and NEA's major goals for replacing NCLB: ensuring educators have a seat at the table when it comes to making decisions that affect their students and classrooms," said PSEA President Jerry Oleksiak. "PSEA leaders, members, and staff have been appointed to every one of the ESSA work groups. That means educators' opinions about how to implement the ESSA will be in the room virtually every time this is discussed."
The work groups will meet in April, June, August, and October. Their recommendations will inform Pennsylvania's ESSA State Plan, must be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education prior to full implementation of the new law in 2017-18.
Description of the four work groups:
1. Assessment: The Assessment Work Group will explore options for reducing testing time, decreasing turnaround time, and administering assessments later in the year, while attending to policies and practices that support fair and valid testing.
2. Accountability: The Accountability Work Group will explore opportunities to develop valid measures of student growth and indicators that control for mitigating factors such as poverty.
3. Educator Certification: The Educator Certification Work Group will explore PDE's Certification and Staffing Program Guidance to identify avenues to place effective teachers in classrooms. Particular attention should be devoted to special education teachers and content certification, as well as flexibility for those teaching dual enrollment courses.
4. Educator Evaluation: The Educator Evaluation Work Group will explore opportunities to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Pennsylvania's current educator evaluation system while addressing the complexities of teaching and learning and still maintaining educator accountability for student success.
Find a list of appointees for each of the work groups here.
Find more information about the ESSA and its impact on schools, students, and education professionals at www.psea.org/ESSA.