Thursday, August 3, 2017

PA Department of Education Unveils Plan to Develop A Way to Measure Student and School Success

State Education Secretary Pedro A. Rivera announced Wednesday the commonwealth’s proposed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Consolidated State Plan is on the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s (PDE) website and is available for public comment.
The plan builds on an 18-month collaboration between PDE and a diverse group of stakeholders from around the state.

“The Wolf Administration, through its Schools That Teach initiative, has been focused on ensuring that all students, regardless of their age, socioeconomic status, or zip code, have access to high-quality educators and schools,” said Secretary Rivera. “Pennsylvania’s ESSA Consolidated State Plan accelerates state-level priorities in these same areas, and helps the state transition from the prescriptive policies and unintended consequences of NCLB to a more student-centered approach.”

To develop the ESSA Consolidated State Plan, PDE:
  • Assembled four work groups – comprised of teachers, charter school and district level administrators, advocates, civil rights leaders, former policymakers from both parties, and others – to study key aspects of the law and develop framework recommendations;
    Commissioned an independent study to examine work group recommendations in the context of academic literature and other evidence;
  • Testified before the House and Senate Education committees and worked with lawmakers to address plan components;
  • Held six dedicated town halls in every region of the commonwealth to gather additional stakeholder feedback;
  • Participated in approximately 30 statewide conferences, professional association meetings, and other forums to reach more than 2,000 Pennsylvanians and present on the state’s ESSA planning and early implementation; and
  • Consulted with national nonpartisan policy and technical experts (American Institutes for Research, Council of Chief State School Officers, Education Commission of the States) to solicit additional insight, feedback, and suggestions for specific plan components.

Rivera noted that the plan also presents new opportunities for the commonwealth to develop, recruit, and retain a talented and diverse pool of educators, bolsters college and career readiness and effective transition strategies throughout the pre-K to postsecondary continuum, and focuses on student and school equity.

Additionally, the development of the Future Ready PA Index, a new, public-facing school report card that expands the indicators used to measure performance, extends the comprehensive approach to ensuring student and school success. The Index will place additional emphasis on academic growth, evaluation of school climate through a robust chronic absenteeism measure, attention to both four-year and extended-year graduation rates, and assessments of postsecondary readiness.

“The plan represents a collaborative, evidence-based approach to help every student, in every Pennsylvania public school, access a high-quality, well-rounded education,” said Secretary Rivera. “That collaboration continues as we invite stakeholders and members of the public to provide feedback on Pennsylvania’s Consolidated State Plan.”

Rivera added that public comment will close on August 31, and the Department will submit its Consolidated State Plan to the U.S. Department of Education on September 18. Initial implementation of the plan will begin in the 2017-18 school year, with full rollout by 2018-19.

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