Union School District

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January 2016

Welcome to the New Year! I hope that you and your family had the opportunity to rest, reinvigorate, and re-connect over the two week break. Many of us, with the promise of a new year, think to the possibilities that lie ahead; the fresh beginnings.

As you work with your students to identify and prioritize goals for the upcoming year, I’d like to inform you of changes in the State and Federal Accountability System that have been recently announced. The information in the following paragraphs has been provided by the California School Boards Association (CSBA).

On December 10, 2015, the President signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (EDDS) which repeals the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and establishes a new direction for elementary and secondary education.

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) will begin implementing the law in 2016, but states will not be required to fully implement core accountability and other requirements until the 2017-18 school year.

Among its major provisions, the ESSA establishes college and career readiness expectations by requiring that state education standards be aligned with the entrance requirements set by each state’s public higher education system and with the state’s career and technical education standards. The new law also sets important new requirements intended to strengthen instruction, assessment, and student supports, so that students graduate from high school with essential skills in addition to mastering rigorous content. Student data disaggregation and reporting, and achievement gap closures are also continued as priorities under the new law, including thorough requirements for school support and improvement.

One of the most significant changes restricts the overarching federal role in public education and gives states and school districts greater responsibility on critical policy elements such as setting annual targets for student academic performance as well as deciding how to identify, support and intervene in struggling schools. The new law continues existing formula programs focused on educator and leader professional development, English learners, and establishes a new competitive preschool program while consolidating and eliminating many other NCLB requirements.

Each state will be responsible for filing a State Plan with the Secretary of Education for peer review and approval. The State Plan must include assurances and satisfy requirements regarding the state’s adoption of challenging academic content standards and its statewide accountability system, including school support and improvement activities.

With the legislative process concluded, the U.S. Department of Education is reviewing ESSA in order to determine next steps with regard to regulatory and process changes within the Department.